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The Domestic Slave Trade of the Southern States 



Copyright, 1918, by 



PREFACE .......... 









IN the preparation of these pages an effort has 
been made to discover and present the truth in re- 
gard to the Negro in the South. The first three 
chapters need not be considered an attempt at justi- 
fication of lynching nor an effort at palliation of the 
disorder, but rather as a setting forth of the facts, 
conditions, and extenuating circumstances in such 
connection. The purpose of the other four chap- 
ters is to throw light upon the mental, moral, and 
material condition of the Negro. 

W. H. C. 

January 30, 1918. 

The Truth About Lynching 
and the Negro in the South 



IT is generally supposed that the custom or 
practice of lynching in this country had its origin 
in the method of punishment used by a Virginian 
farmer named Lynch, who during the Revolution- 
ary War sought in this way to maintain order in 
his community or section, hence, Lynch's Law, 
and Lynch law, from which comes the word 

In the beginning, however, the term seldom, if 
ever, conveyed the meaning "to put to death"; 
nor does it appear that Negroes were lynched even 
so often as whites. The methods of punishment in 
the majority of cases consisted of riding the victim 
on a rail, beating or whipping him, and often of 
giving him a coat of tar and feathers. 

Moreover, it does not appear that lynching in 


any form was very common in the early history 
of the country. Indeed, in 1839 a writer in the 
Southern Literary Messenger l began a brief arti- 
cle on the subject with the following: 

"Forty years ago the practice of wreaking pri- 
vate vengeance or of inflicting summary or illegal 
punishment for crime actual or pretended which 
has been glossed over by the name Lynch law 
was hardly known except in sparse, frontier set- 
tlements beyond the reach of courts and legal pro- 

Newspapers, periodicals, and other literature of 
the time show, as the years pass, an interest- 
ing change in the meaning of the term Lynch law. 
As the practice of lynching increased, the methods 
of the executors of this law became more severe, 
and it grew more often to mean "a putting to 
death." Possibly the change in meaning was part- 
ly due to the fact that lynching came to be a favo- 
rite means of punishment for abolitionists, their 
Negro dupes, and for both Negroes and whites 
who might be found guilty of unusual or shock- 
ing crimes. 

The change from the mild to the severer mean- 
ing of the term was gradual. From 1830 to 1840 

'Vol. V, p. 218. 

it seldom meant "to put to death"; from 1850 to 
1 860 it very often had that meaning, and by 1 870, 
or 1875, this became the almost exclusive inter- 
pretation of "lynching," even as at present. 

The "New English Dictionary" defines Lynch 
law as "the practice of inflicting summary punish- 
ment upon an offender, by a self-constituted court 
armed with no legal authority; it is now limited 
to the summary execution of one charged with 
some flagrant offense." So this is about the sense 
(unless otherwise indicated) in which I shall use 
the expression "Lynch law," or "lynching," in 
these pages. 

In seeking a cause for the great increase of 
lynching, whether in its milder or severer form, 
from about 1830, I think one need not hesitate to 
give first place to the Anti-Slavery agitation; and 
the Southampton Slave Insurrection is also to be 
considered as contributory. 

When, about 1830, the Anti-Slavery agitation 
began to attract some attention there were a num- 
ber of anti-slavery societies in the South. These, 
however, soon broke up as those formed in the 
North became unreasonable. The net effect of the 
societies in the North was to produce distrust 
and even hatred at the South. It could hardly 
have been otherwise, for the Northern anti-slavery 
propagandists during the whole period of such 


agitation seemed to have regard for neither law 
nor common sense. Nothing better could have 
been expected from them, however, as, for the 
most part, the abolitionists were poor, misguided 
men and women. Instead of adopting persuasive 
methods and of showing a fair and conciliatory 
spirit, they were dictatorial, inflammatory and 
menacing. And by whatever of higher law or 
Divine inspiration they may have claimed to be 
actuated, they failed to recognize the fact that 
they had to deal with human beings and human 

Again, on whatever lofty plane of morality they 
professed to stand, their propaganda did not com- 
prehend even ordinary honesty. Indeed, it ap- 
pears as only another illustration, for history af- 
fords so many instances, of self-elected good 
men endeavoring to impose their own half-blind 
perception of the way of the Lord, or their own 
ideas of what constitutes righteousness on their 
open-eyed and superior fellow-men, and exerting 
themselves to the utmost of their ignorance in 
such efforts, thus, as is usual in such cases, mak- 
ing hell on earth. Even the Kaiser claims to be 
the agent of the Lord. 

William Lloyd Garrison, the leading exponent 
of the abolition movement, called the Constitu- 
tion of the United States "An Agreement with 


Death and a Covenant with Hell." In the begin- 
ning his most earnest supporters were some pious 
old women, who doubtless with fair intelligence 
and good intentions, like many professed good 
people, let their emotions aided by their imagina- 
tion get the better of their heads. They seemed 
to enjoy criticizing the South, with the occasional 
diversion of holding prayer-meetings for Negroes. 

However, it was a long while (even in the 
North) before the abolition movement gained 
much headway. Garrison himself was treated with 
scarcely more consideration in the North than 
awaited those Apostles of anti-slavery that should 
go South, having persuaded themselves that they 
were called to preach the "gospel" of abolition in 
that benighted section. Indeed, once, in 1835, he 
hid himself in order to escape from a mob of 
some thousands of people, including many of the 
leading citizens of Boston, that had collected in 
front of his office. Some of the crowd found him 
and soon had a rope around his neck, but he was 
rescued by the mayor of the city. About two years 
later, however, a noted abolition editor, Rev. 
E. P. Lovejoy, was killed by a mob in Illinois. 

In 1856 The Liberator made the following re- 
markable statement in regard to the treatment of 
abolitionists in the South : 


"A record of the cases of Lynch-Law in the 
Southern States reveals the startling fact that with- 
in twenty years over three hundred white persons 
have been murdered upon the occasion in most 
cases unsupported by legal proof of carrying 
among the slaveholders arguments addressed to 
their own intellects and consciences as to the mo- 
rality and expediency of slavery." 2 

This is evidently a great exaggeration. If it 
were alleged that over three hundred had been 
"lynched," bearing in mind that during those years 
the word, more often than otherwise, meant giv- 
ing the victim a coat of tar and feathers, and so on, 
it would not even then be in accord with what is 
indicated by better evidence. Books of travel and 
other literature of the time fail to show that any 
great number of abolitionists in the South me^t 
death by lynching during the period in question. 

Indeed, a booklet, "The New Reign of Terror," 
published early in 1860, and in all probability 
compiled by Garrison himself, is weighty evi- 
dence against the truth of this statement. Ac- 
cording to The Liberator, the booklet gave "multi- 
plied newspaper accounts of lynchings, murders, 
and mob raids of the Black Power of the Slave 
States within the past year [1859]." Although 

1 The Liberator, Dec. 19, 1856. 


this was a time of intense excitement throughout 
the South, a time when a more bitter feeling was 
manifested against abolitionists than in any previ- 
ous period, a careful examination of the "New 
Reign of Terror" failed to reveal more than one 
case in which an abolitionist was put to death by 

There is much evidence of a law-abiding spirit 
in the South (especially in the eastern part) at the 
beginning of the Anti-Slavery agitation. Indeed, 
even when lynching was resorted to, it seems to 
have been done with great reluctance. 

Another thing that had some effect on lynching 
was the Southampton Slave Insurrection, which oc- 
curred in 1831. About sixty white men, women, 
and children were murdered in cold blood by Ne- 
groes. However, not more than one of the fifty 
or more Negroes concerned in it was lynched. In- 
stead, they were given a fair trial, and disposed 
of according to law. The Insurrection may have 
caused an increase in the lynching of Negroes by 
the fact that it begat a kind of fear and distrust 
of the blacks everywhere, caused them to be more 
carefully looked after, and more severely dealt 
with when refractory or guilty of crime. 

This was no more than could be expected. In 
1835 there were four great fires in the city of 
Charleston, all supposed to have been the work 


of slaves. Moreover, up to 1860 there were ru- 
mors of insurrections, and many minor insurrec- 
tions did take place. The abolitionists, not with- 
out reason, were accused of trying to set the slaves 
against their masters and of fostering outbreaks 
of the bondmen. 

Such things could hardly be considered lightly, 
for in many places the whites were practically at 
the mercy of the Negroes. A quotation from Mur- 
ray, 3 an English traveler, may be interesting as it 
gives an example of the situation in many of the 
Slave States: 

"The farms of the two gentlemen whom I visit- 
ed occupied the whole of the peninsula formed by 
the James River; they had each two overseers: 
thus (their families being young) the effective 
strength of white men on their estates amounted 
to six: the Negroes were in number about two 
hundred and fifty: nor was there a village or place 
within many miles from which help could be sum- 

Could one reasonably expect that any man so 
situated would be inclined to be too ceremonious 
with any person, black or white, however innocent 
or saintlike his looks, who might be caught tam- 
pering with the Negroes and thereby jeopardize 

"Murray, "Travels in North America," Vol. I, p. 166. 


the safety of his family and those of his neighbors 
as well? When one considers the exasperating 
circumstances, the wonder is not that there were 
so many lynchings but rather that there were so 
few, comparatively. 

Some interesting lynchings occurred in 1835. 
They were widely commented upon at the time. 
One, the case of a mulatto from Pennsylvania, 
who was supposed to have some connection with 
the abolitionists, was burned at St. Louis for kill- 
ing an officer who was trying to arrest him for 
some crime he had committed. The judge's charge 
to the grand jury in reference to the matter is 
worth consideration as it indicates the attitude to- 
ward lynching shown at the time by those in au- 
thority : 

"He told the jury that a bad and lamentable 
deed had been committed in burning a man alive 
without trial, but that it was quite another ques- 
tion whether they were to take any notice of it. 
If it should prove to be the act of a few, every 
one of those few ought undoubtedly to be indicted 
and punished; but if it should be proved to be 
the act of the many, incited by that electric and 
metaphysical influence which occasionally carries 
on a multitude to do deeds above and beyond the 


law, it was no affair for the jury to interfere 

The same year, 1835, two Negroes were burned 
near Mobile. 5 The circumstances were these: 

Upon the failure of a certain little girl and her 
brother to return from school at the proper time 
a search was made and the body of the girl at last 
found. It appeared that she had been violated, 
then murdered, and her body hid in order to con- 
ceal the crime. Soon after this, two young ladies 
of Mobile were seized by two Negroes near the 
place where the body of the little girl was found. 
The young ladies escaped. At once suspicion 
pointed to these Negroes as the murderers of the 
children. They were arrested, tried by the court, 
and found guilty. The gentlemen of Mobile, it 
is said, then seized the Negroes, took them to the 
place of their crime, and burned them. For it 
was felt that the law did not furnish adequate 
means of punishment for such fiendish criminality. 

Another noted instance of lynching took place 
at Vicksburg in the same year. This time it was 
not a Negro but whites that were lynched. 

For many years the population of the Missis- 
sippi Valley had been increasing rapidly. The 
courts of law were so few, weak, or dilatory, that 

4 Harriett Martineau, "Retrospect of Western Travel," pp. 30-1. 
e Ibid., "Society in America," Vol. II, pp. 141-2. 


the better citizens sometimes found it necessary to 
take the law into their own hands in order to insure 
for themselves protection. Such was the case at 
Vicksburg. Some gamblers had lately made this 
town their home and had established themselves at 
the low taverns to which they decoyed the young 
men of the vicinity. These, after being plundered 
and debauched, often cast their lot with the gam- 
blers and became almost as desperate as their cor- 
rupters. After a while all restraint was thrown 
off, and the gamblers went about the streets even 
in the daytime armed with deadly weapons, and 
by their insults, drunkenness, and crimes, made 
themselves a terror to the inhabitants. 

At length the people, having decided to put an 
end to such conditions, held a meeting and passed 
resolutions, giving the gamblers notice to leave 
within twenty-four hours. But, instead of doing 
so, they garrisoned themselves in a house. This 
the men of the town surrounded, and breaking 
open a door, they were fired upon from within, 
one of the most prominent men of the town being 
killed. This so enraged the people that they took 
the house by storm. Five of the gamblers were 
made prisoners. Then a procession, headed by 
the leading men of the town, led the gamblers to 
execution, hung them, and buried them together in 
a ditch. 

Featherstonhaugh, an English traveler, in writ- 
ing of the Mississippi gamblers, says: 

"In various travels in almost every part of the 
world, I never saw such a collection of unblushing, 
low, degraded scoundrels." 6 

He also quotes a passage from a justification 
of the above lynching, which was drawn up by 
the people of Vicksburg, and is as follows: 

"Society may be compared to the elements, 
which, although, 'order is their first law,' can some- 
times be justified only by a storm. Whatever, 
therefore, sickly sensibility or mawkish philan- 
thropy may say against the course pursued by us, 
we hope that our citizens will not relax the code of 
punishment which they have enacted against this 
infamous, unprincipled, and baleful class of so- 
ciety; and we invite Natchez, Jackson, Columbus, 
Warrenton, and all our sister towns throughout 
the State, in the name of our insulted laws, of of- 
fended virtue, and of slaughtered innocence, to aid 
us in exterminating this deep-rooted vice from our 
land. The revolution has been conducted here by 
the most respectable citizens, heads of families, 
members of all classes and professions and pur- 

"G. W. Featherstonhaugh, "Excursion through the Slave 
States," pp. 136-9. 


suits. None have been heard to utter a syllable 
of censure against either the act or the manner in 
which it was performed; and so far as we know, 
public opinion, both in town and country, is de- 
cidedly in favor of the course pursued. We have 
never known the public so unanimous on any sub- 

Only a few days before the Vicksburg affair 
two white men and seven Negroes were lynched 
about forty miles from Vicksburg on the charge 
of attempting to organize an insurrection of 
slaves. Featherstonhaugh quotes the following 
account of it from a newspaper: 

"Twenty miles from this place [Jackson, in 
Madison County] a company of white men and 
Negroes were detected before they did any mis- 
chief. On Sunday last they hung two steam doc- 
tors, one named Cotton and the other Saunders; 
also, seven Negroes without law or gospel, and 
from respectable authority we learn that there 
were two preachers and ten Negroes to be hanged 
this day." 

That such lynchings were exceptional in the 
South before about 1855, or even before the war, 
is shown by the fact that these cases were men- 


tioned by several different travelers and the papers 
of the time as well. I examined with more or less 
care books of travel too numerous to mention, 
scores of them, for the period between 1830 and 
1860. Those travelers, especially, who visited the 
South between 1838 and 1854 are eloquently si- 
lent on the subject. I examined The Liberator 1 
for 1839 an d 1840, but found mention of only one 
Negro who was put to death by a mob. No State 
was given so I am not sure whether it was in the 
North or the South. However, it gave five in- 
stances of Negroes legally executed in the South; 
one for rape, one for arson, one for firing on two 
white men and threatening two others, and two 
for connection with an attempt at insurrection. 
Two more cases may be given : that of a Negro in 
New Orleans suspected of rape and murder, and 
one sentenced in Kentucky for rape upon two 
white women. 

Again, a search of The Liberator for 1 848 and 
1849; Niles' Register, July, i845-January, 
1849; The Ficksburg Sentinel, and The Augusta 
(Va.) Democrat, July, i846-January, 1849, re ~ 
veal out two lynchings: One a Negro "hung by 
a committee of citizens" at Bentonville, Arkansas; 

7 In using The Liberator one needs to be careful, for the same 
instance is often found to be given two or three different times, 
weeks, even months apart. 


the other, a white man named Yeoman, in Florida, 
for robbery. The latter was given both by Niles' 
Register and a book of travel. However, one Ne- 
gro was sentenced to death in the South for rape, 
and ten legally executed, the majority for mur- 

As one might naturally expect, The Liberator 
for 1855 and 1856 shows several lynchings in the 
South. At least six Negroes were lynched in the 
South during these years, two for rape (one of 
whom was burned) and four for murder (one of 
whom also was burned). Two of these criminals 
were lynched in Arkansas by a mob, after being 
acquitted by the court, led by the sons of their 
master, whom they had killed. Two white men 
were also lynched : one, in Texas, for stealing Ne- 
groes, and the other, in Missouri, for poisoning 
a spring. Moreover, eighteen Negroes were 
legally executed in the South: two for rape, and 
nearly all the others for murder. In addition, 
seven Negroes were mentioned as under sentence 
of death. 

A quotation from Bancroft clearly shows that 
the number of lynchings in the South at this time 
hardly compares with the number in the West: 

"Out of 535 homicides which occurred in Cali- 
fornia during the year 1855," he says, "there were 


but seven legal executions and forty-nine informal 
ones." 8 

One does not need to go far in order to find the 
causes of the increase of lynching in the South 
after 1850, or for the disorder and commotion 
both North and South as well. 

In 1850 the Fugitive Slave law was passed. The 
endeavor to enforce it gave great impetus to the 
abolition cause in the North; this reacted on 
the South. Indeed, many of the same men who 
were ready to hang Garrison in 1835, now became 
his earnest adherents. This great change in the 
feeling of the North opened the way for the en- 
thusiastic reception of "Uncle Tom's Cabin" 
when, in 1852, it was published in book form. The 
author of this book ingeniously made the isolated 
and exceptional incidents of slavery appear as the 
general condition of the institution; however, as 
for the chief character of the book, Uncle Tom, 
it is very doubtful whether the pure Negro race 
ever produced such an individual. Nevertheless, 
this piece of fiction was read by hundreds of thou- 
sands both in the North and in foreign countries 
as if it were "Gospel truth." 

Another thing that added to the excitement and 
helped the abolitionists was the Dred Scott Decis- 

8 H. H. Bancroft, "Popular Tribunals," Vol. I, p. 749. 


ion, given in 1857. Then, in 1859, came "Help- 
ers' Impending Crisis," a book of great influence. 
At last, in 1859, as if to "cap the climax," the 
whole country was startled by John Brown's Raid. 
After this, the greater part of the South, suddenly, 
became an extremely unhealthful place for both 
abolitionists and unruly, criminal, or insurrection- 
ary Negroes. 

"The New Reign of Terror," mentioned above, 
published early in 1860, not many months after 
John Brown's Raid, has the following, which indi- 
cates the then feeling in the South: 

"In almost every city, town, and village south 
of the border slave-holding States, Vigilance Com- 
mittees have been appointed to put to inquisition 
every Northern man who makes his appearance 
in the place, whether as foe or friend. Even 
harmless young women, who have gone from 
Northern boarding schools to be teachers of 
Southern children have been waited upon by re- 
spectable and even clerical gentlemen with the 
polite hint that the sooner they leave the State 
the better for their safety." 

The Augusta Dispatch 9 warned the South 
against "strange loafing white men, and especially 

"Quoted by Liberator, Aug. 24, 1860. 


the one-horse invalid preachers from the North," 
for it said: 

"We would guard well against imposition from 
transient 'candles of the Lord' lest we suffer them 
to light the fires of insurrection, instead of bearing 
aloft the light of the Gospel." 

Indeed, in many Southern States there were 
rumors of Negro insurrections. In Mississippi, 
Georgia, and Alabama plots of Negro insurrec- 
tions were discovered in 1860. In Texas, how- 
ever, the greatest excitement prevailed. What 
was supposed to be a State-wide insurrection was 
discovered. Dallas and other towns were partly 
burned before it was checked. 

The excited state of the public mind in some in- 
stances may have suspected plots of insurrection 
when none existed. However that may be, 
wherever and whenever such a plot was dis- 
covered, investigation nearly always pointed to the 
abolitionists as the instigators. Indeed, even when 
Negroes were insubordinate and refractory on a 
plantation, it was often found that they had been 
tampered with by abolitionists. 

Occasionally, when such things were proved 
against an abolitionist beyond the possibility of a 
doubt, he would be immediately hanged to the 


limb of some convenient tree. Several were so 
dealt with in connection with the insurrection in 
Texas. As a rule, however, when the proof was 
not so conclusive, a severe whipping, or a coat of 
tar and feathers, would be given him, and then 
he would be forcefully admonished to leave the 

One cannot but reach the conclusion that the 
anti-slavery agitation was detrimental to the hap- 
piness and welfare of the slaves, and to the free 
Negroes as well. Of the latter there were in the 
slave States (by the fifties) something like 225,- 
ooo. The majority of these were indolent, miser- 
able, and often vi,cious. Finally some States passed 
laws giving them the option of leaving such State 
or of being sold into slavery. 

Nearly everywhere more stringent regulations 
and laws 10 were made both for slaves and for free 
Negroes. The slaves were deprived of many for- 
mer privileges, the enjoyment of which by the Ne- 
groes might be dangerous for the white people. 
They were more closely guarded and much more 
harshly dealt with when guilty of offenses or 
crimes. Indeed, three Negroes in as many States 
were burned in 1859 for the murder of their mas- 

10 The attitude toward both slaves and free Negroes varied 
in different Southern States; but as a result of the anti-slavery 
agitation, as we approach 1860 the more severe it becomes. 


ters, one of these was burned before 1,500 or 
2,000 people. 

Nevertheless, it is quite evident that through- 
out the period from 1830 to 1860 the lynching of 
Negroes was sporadic, and usually was resorted 
to only for exceptional reasons. Generally the 
law was allowed to take its course. However, it 
is also plain that after 1850 the law was relied 
on less and less, while the people more and more 
assumed the initiative in such matters as the ex- 
citement increased. What was true as regards the 
Negro was undoubtedly true also as regards the 
treatment of the abolitionists. 



IT is said that an Abolitionist Society by a bribe 
of $3,000 induced the slave valet of Henry Clay 
to leave him and go North. The Society thought 
that this large sum would be well spent in produc- 
ing what would appear to be such a noteworthy 
example of dissatisfaction with the condition of 
slavery. Though the Negro accepted the money 
and left, he soon repented and returned to his 
master. Thereupon Clay gave him $3,000 (for 
the Negro had long since spent the bribe), telling 
him that when he had returned the sum to those 
who had tried to corrupt him that he would be re- 
stored to his master's service. The money was 
given back as directed and Clay then took the 
Negro back as his valet. 

Such a case was, no doubt, exceptional. In 
one way or another, however, the abolitionists 
produced more or less dissatisfaction among the 
slaves and were almost wholly responsible for the 



escape to the North of something like an average 
of 2,000 a year. The Negroes did not always find 
conditions in the North so favorable as they had 
been led to suppose. As a consequence it did not 
infrequently happen that a "runaway" Negro 
would become dissatisfied and return of his own 
free will to his master in the South. 

During the Civil War those slaves who for any 
reason had become dissatisfied with their condition 
embraced the first opportunity to gather in the 
wake of the Union army, mainly, no doubt, to 
shun work. 

While this was true as an exception, the great 
mass of the slaves remained quietly at work on 
the plantations. Thus, instead of creating an- 
tagonism between the two races, the War served 
rather to foster and cement a good feeling between 
them; indeed, throughout its darkest days they 
lived harmoniously side by side. Elizabeth Col- 
lins, an Englishwoman, who was in South Caro- 
lina the greater part of the War, says: 

"In regard to the slave population of Charles- 
ton, I may say that they appear to be, almost 
without exception, happy and contented." 1 

Indeed, an examination of several .Southern 

1 Elizabeth Collins, "Memories of the Southern States," p. 46. 


newspapers and some books of travel 2 revealed 
but two possible cases of lynching of Negroes in 
the South during the War : A Mr. Harris, Uchee, 
Alabama, was murdered by six of his Negroes, 

"The citizens of the county about ninety in num- 
ber, after consultation, determined upon the im- 
mediate execution of the murderers." 8 

The other case was in Mississippi : Some Ne- 
groes were hung, seemingly, for trying to get on 
a steamboat in order to escape from slavery. 4 The 
Liberator 5 mentions two instances of Negroes 
being lynched in New York in 1863 : A negro in 
jail at Newburg, on suspicion of rape, was taken 
out by a mob "who pounded him almost to death 
and then hung him on a tree until he was finished." 
Two were also lynched in the City of New York, 
one of whom, it seems, was roasted alive. 

In no place was there any mention of any Ne- 
groes being lynched for rape in the South during 
the War. Indeed, it is often said that during the 

'The Frankfort (Ky.) Commonwealth, The Charleston (S. 
C.) Mercury, The Louisville (Ky.) Democrat for 1863 and 
1864, The Daily News (Savannah), for 1862 and one Northern 
paper, The Liberator (Boston) for 1863. The books of travel 
include Elizabeth Collins' "Memories of the Southern States." 

'Savannah News, June 9, 1862. 

4 The Liberator, Feb. 22, 1863. 

'Ibid., June 26 and July 24, 1863. 


Civil War when the white men were nearly all 
away from home, leaving the white women almost 
at the mercy of the slaves, no Negro was guilty of 
a criminal outrage against them. 6 It may be true. 
Viewed in the light of the sporadic occurrence of 
the crime under the restraining influence of slavery 
before the War, and of its quite frequent occur- 
rence sometime after, it is both remarkable and 

It may truly be regarded as evidence not only of 
the generally fair treatment that, according to un- 
prejudiced travelers, they were receiving in sla- 
very, as well as a tribute to their fidelity, but it 
also makes it obvious that the Negro and the 
Southern white man might have continued in har- 
mony mutually advantageous after the War, had 
both been free from outside influences. 

Almost immediately after the War, however, 
the South began to "swarm" with harebrained 
preachers and teachers from the North, ostensibly 
to elevate the Negro; as a rule, though, they 
served no better purpose than to aid in setting the 
Negro against his former master. For, it seems, 
they cared not what became of the white man so 
they secured the "salvation" of the Negro, en- 
tirely ignoring that saying of Scripture which is to 
the effect that those who fail to serve first their 

* Grimke, "Lynching of Negroes," p. 29. 


own house or people have denied the faith and are ' 
worse than infidels. 7 

Such a condition of affairs was promoted by 
Congress, who, at about the close of the War es- 
tablished the so-called "Freedmen's Bureau," and 
shortly after passed the Civil Rights bill, both of 
which tended to cause friction between the two 
races. However, as compared with that of a few 
years later, the trouble does not appear to have 
been very serious notwithstanding exaggerated ac- 
counts which were reported to Northern papers. 
In most parts of the South and at most times for 
something like two years after the War, there 
was comparative quiet and safety. 

The crimes of the Negroes during these years 
were for the most part of a trifling kind, petty 
thievery and robbery. However, it is true they 
committed crimes of a very serious nature, also. 
Notwithstanding, the law was generally allowed 
to have its way. Harriett Martineau observes in 
one of her books that nothing struck her more than 
the patience of the slave-owners of the South with 
their slaves. Even during the first years after 
the War a patient and even indulgent spirit was 
often manifested by the leading whites toward the 
Negroes as to their shortcomings and sometimes 
it extended to their serious crimes. 

7 7 Timothy, V, 8. 


For instance, in 1866, near Rome, Georgia, a 
whole family consisting of a man, wife, and two 
daughters, were murdered, and one of the women, 
ravished. The newspaper account ends with : 8 

"It was difficult to restrain the people from in- 
flicting summary punishment upon them." 

For such a crime now, a Negro would likely be 
burned alive. The same paper quotes the follow- 
ing from The Raleigh Progress: 9 

"Charles Wethers, the rascally Negro, who at- 
tempted to commit a rape upon a highly respect- 
able young lady of this county some weeks ago, 
was placed in the stocks this morning for the last 
time, having completed his sit still in the burning 
sun for two hours during each day of this week. 
He was returned to jail and will remain in the 
custody of the sheriff till the workhouse is ready, 
in which institution he will labor at five dollars per 
month until the fine, $200, and the cost of the trial 
have been liquidated by muscle." 

Would it now be possible for any one to take 
such a tolerant, if not ewn good-natured, view 
of such an affair? 

8 Richmond Times, Oct. 24, 1866. 
"Ibid., Sept. n, 1866. 


In order to make a comparison I have selected 
for study, here, two three-year periods: First, 
1866-7-8, including the year before and year after 
the passing of the Reconstruction Act of 1867 for 
the South; second, 1873-4-5, when the carpet-bag 
rule, which resulted from the Reconstruction pol- 
icy of Congress, was in full operation. Although 
the number of lynchings during the first and sec- 
ond periods are in striking contrast, even this but 
faintly indicates the great change from the com- 
parative tranquillity of the first (as illustrated by 
newspapers) 10 to the confusion, chaos, and crime 
of the second. 

In 1866, one Negro was lynched in the South 
for attempted rape, another was sentenced to 
death for rape, and one was sentenced to the peni- 
tentiary for a like crime. Also, near Smithfield, 
Ohio, Negroes committed outrages on two girls. 
In Kentucky three white men were lynched for 
murder, and three more were put to death by a 

"Newspapers examined for first period: Richmond Times, 
1866; Richmond Times, Baltimore American, and the New Or- 
leans Times, 1867; and the Sun (Baltimore), Leader (Balti- 
more) and Atlanta News Era, 1868; second, Missouri Republi- 
can, Baltimore American, 1873; Richmond Enquirer, Baltimore 
American, St. Louis Republican, 1874; Baltimore American, 
St. Louis Republican, Richmond Enquirer, and New Orleans 
Republican, 1875. I do not claim that I found every case of 
lynching in the South for either period, but as the same case 
would often be found in two or three different papers, I be- 
lieve that I found practically all. 


band of regulators. No doubt Kentucky was in- 
fluenced in such matters by the example of the 

The following occurred in 1867: one Negro 
lynched in Missouri by Germans for the murder 
of a German ; a Negro given sixty lashes in Dela- 
ware for assaulting two white women; three Ne- 
groes legally hanged at Charleston, S. C., for out- 
rage. In the North, two or more Negro soldiers, 
deserters, lynched in Kansas for the rape of a 
white woman ; four white men lynched in Indiana 
for murder and robbery; thirty men hanged in 
three Kansas counties by Vigilantes during the 
winter and spring. 

For 1868 : Two Negroes who confessed to the 
horrible murder of a white family in Mississippi 
were taken from a sheriff by a band of Negroes 
and burned ; n one Negro was lynched in Ken- 
tucky for rape and another in Maryland for at- 
tempted rape; two Negroes, in jail for murder, 
lynched in Mississippi after boasting that the 
Loyal League would prevent their execution, even 
if convicted; a man lynched in Tennessee after he 

"This lynching of the two Negroes by Negroes is the only 
case I found where Negroes alone did the lynching in cases of 
crime against the whites. Several times during the seventies, 
however, Negroes are found helping the whites to lynch some 
Negro guilty of crime. It shows, I believe, that in some places, 
at least, the Negroes were yet in accord with the Southern 


had confessed to the murder of three men at dif- 
ferent times. In North Carolina over thirty Ne- 
gro desperadoes, who confessed to several mur- 
ders and robberies, were captured and put in jail. 
Ten Adam's Express robbers were lynched in In- 
diana; two men lynched for murder in Illinois 
and one for stealing horses in Colorado. 12 

In 1873, however, six Negroes were lynched in 
the South for rape; three were legally executed 
for the same crime; one, condemned to be hung, 
and three awaiting trial in all, thirteen Negroes 
charged with rape. In Louisiana, three Negroes 
were lynched in the presence of 1,000 people for 
an atrocious murder; four men were also lynched 
in Louisiana for cattle-stealing, and another in 
the same State for arson. Also, one white man 
was lynched in Tennessee by fifteen Negroes. Two 
Negroes were legally hanged for murder, one 
in Kentucky, the other in Virginia. In the North: 
One white man was lynched in Ohio for rape; a 
Negro and a white man were lynched in Nebraska 
for robbery, also a Negro for murder; two men 
were lynched in Montana for murder and two in 
Kansas for supposed murder. 

During the year 1874, eleven Negroes and one 

a So far as the North and West are concerned, I simply hap- 
pened te find such without any special search. I was searching 
carefully for lyochings in the South, etc. 


white man were lynched in the South for rape, 
while two Negroes were legally executed for the 
crime. In two instances, one in Arkansas, the 
other in Missouri, both Negroes and whites took 
part in lynching Negroes. Three Negroes were 
also lynched in the South for murder and two for 
riot; and four Negroes in Tennessee for threat- 
ening to kill some whites and to sack and burn a 
town. In addition, ten white men were lynched, 
four in Arkansas and one in Missouri for horse- 
stealing, the others in the States of the Southwest 
for scandalous murders. In the North, two Ne- 
groes were lynched for murder, and two Negroes 
in Pennsylvania and one white man in Kansas for 
rape. In the North, also, seven white men, one 
Mexican and one Chinaman were lynched for mur- 
der, and one white man for horse-stealing and an- 
other for thievery. 

In 1875, the last year of the second period, 
nine Negroes were lynched in the South for rape 
and four for attempted rape; also, one Negro 
guilty of rape, and another who attempted rape, 
escaped, in all, fifteen rape cases. 13 One man 
and two Negroes were lynched for murder. Also 
one Negro was legally executed for rape, eleven 

18 In 1875, there was another interesting case in which both 
Negroes and whites, about equal in number, lynched a Negro 
for attempted rape of a white woman. 


for murder, and one case cause not given. In the 
North, one Negro was lynched, cause not given, 
and one Negro guilty of rape, escaped. Three 
men, also, were lynched for murder, one for arson, 
and one in New York for robbery. 

By comparing the two three-year periods it will 
be found that during 1 866-8 there were seven 
cases of rape or attempted rape by Negroes in 
the South. In three instances they were lynched 
and in four, the law was allowed to take its course. 
While for 1873-5, twenty-six Negroes were 
lynched for rape, and four for attempted rape. Six 
Negroes were legally executed for rape, one was 
under sentence of death for the crime, three were 
awaiting trial and two escaped in all forty-two 
Negroes in the South were charged with rape 
during the second period. This was just six times 
as many as for the first period. Further, ten 
times the number of Negroes were lynched for 
rape in the South during 1873-5 as during 1 866-8, 
or but 43 - - per cent of those charged with the 
crime during the first period as against 73 -(- per 
cent for the second. 

That this wonderful change was due almost 
wholly to misgovernment at Washington, no one 
can doubt. Surely, History was never obliged 
to record a more colossal blunder in statesmanship 
than that of Congressional Reconstruction. Nor 


is it likely that any civilized people were ever be- 
fore called upon to endure a system of misrule 
and legalized plunder equal to that which such 
legislation, maybe unwittingly, paved the way for 
inaugurating at the South. 

The confusion, turmoil, and strife that it cre- 
ated is only too well known. Not only did it re- 
sult in a cleavage of the social structure, setting 
one part against the other, but it also caused as 
much or more financial damage to the South than 
the War itself. For instance, four and one-half 
years of Reconstruction, it is said, cost the State 
of Louisiana alone over $106,000,000; while the 
assessed valuation of property in New Orleans 
dropped from $147,000,000 to $88,500,000 dur- 
ing eight years of carpet-bag rule. 

It was made easy for political-fortune hunters 
from the North, with little concern for the good of 
either the whites or the blacks of the South, to 
gain position and power through cultivating the 
friendship of the ignorant, credulous, newly en- 
franchised Negroes. This they assiduously did 
from the start. At the same time they left noth- 
ing undone which might create and foster among 
the Negroes a feeling of ill will against and dis- 
trust of the Southern whites. If their former 
masters came into power, the Negroes were some- 
times told, they would be reduced to slavery. The 


Negroes' love of display was appealed to by en- 
couraging them to form secret societies, to make 
public parades, and hold celebrations which tend- 
ed to create a race consciousness and race soli- 
darity. This, of course, was for the purpose of 
helping the carpet-baggers in perpetuating their 
power. If one considers the conditions, what else 
could be expected but riots and lynchings? 

If the control of the Negroes in slavery times, 
with all the advantages to such end embodied in 
the institution of slavery, had often been one of 
anxiety to the South, how fearful must have been 
the conditions now that they were not only free 
from such control but enfranchised and taught by 
their new friends to be self-assertive, even if not 
sometimes encouraged in acts of violence against 
the Southern white people ? It does, indeed, seem 
that a great part of the Negroes almost ran wild 
for they were free, but did not understand how 
to use their freedom. So, lazy, worthless, rob- 
bing, murdering gangs of them went prowling 
through the South. For it is as natural for the 
Negro to sit in idleness, or shoot crap, to go on 
marauding expeditions or connive at insurrections, 
as it is for the white man to establish courts, col- 
lect libraries, and found schools. 

Can History prove that the Negro, during his 
thousands of years of contact with superior races, 


has ever yet risen to the dignity of stable and 
progressive self-government? Even Liberia, with 
all the help that has been given her, is gradually 
sinking to the level of the surrounding barbarism. 
And what of San Domingo? Indeed, everywhere 
the tendency of the pure Negro is to fall when the 
white man's props are removed. 

To return: If there ever was a time when the 
best elements in a society were justified in taking 
the law into their own hands, that time was during 
carpet-bag rule. The wonder now is that such 
a people as those of the South should have acted 
with even the moderation that appears. 

That some of the carpet-bag governments were 
absolutely corrupt goes without saying. "Get all 
you can in any way you can" seemed to be the 
idea. Justice was for sale. In some instances, it 
is said, the criminal elements knew that any one 
could commit crime and escape punishment for a 
money consideration. A few examples may be 
of interest: 14 A man who was accused of out- 
rageously murdering a woman, although caught 
and imprisoned, was released, it is said, without 
even a trial, for $800. Moreover, a Negro who 
had been sentenced by a court to the penitentiary 
was released and returned home on the same train 
as the sheriff who took him there. Indeed, the ac- 

14 St. Louis Republican, Sept. 14, 1875. 


cusation was made that a certain carpet-bag gov- 
ernor, in order to help the Republican Party, con- 
nived at the killing of a number of Negroes in 
such a way that the blame might fall on the South- 
ern whites. At one place, 15 a court in passing 
judgment on a convicted Negro rapist merely sent 
him to the penitentiary, which so enraged the peo- 
ple of the community that they took him from jail 
and hanged him near the place of his crime. 

In order that one may the better understand the 
reason for the development of the lynching spirit 
in the South the following quotations are given: 

I. "New Iberia, La., Sept. 13, the Parish of 
Vermilion for years has been infested with cattle 
thieves. The people have been unable to obtain 
redress by process of law and last month they or- 
ganized a vigilant committee as a last resort. A 
large number of thieves and their confederates 
were given notice to leave within a specified time 
but instead of doing so armed themselves and 
threatened to destroy the town of Abbeville. The 
Vigilantes pressed them and they scattered. It is 
reported that three of the band were hung on 
Friday. . . . All kinds of vague rumors are afloat 
concerning the number executed." 16 

"St. Louis Republican, July 22, 1875. 
"Missouri Republican, Sept. 14, 1873. 


II. "The right of a robbed people to revolt 
against robbery. ... In Edgefield, S. C., a few 
days ago the country was startled by a resolution 
adopted at a meeting of the citizens of the county, 
which declared that, 'Parties black or white who 
may be caught in the act of firing any house in this 
county shall be dealt with in accordance with the 
precedents of Lynch law, which is a part of the 
unwritten law of America.' 

"Edgefield people present a statement of facts 
which while not justifying resort to Lynch law 
shows a strong provocation for it. Just before 
the November election, the most prominent white 
Radical of the county is said to have advised the 
Negroes to burn the houses of the whites; and that 
this advice was not lost on them seems to be 
proved by the fact that thirteen citizens were 
burned out of their homes by incendiaries between 
the yth and I9th of December. The Radicals 
have a large majority and they have used their 
power without mercy. 

"No security for persons or property, for the 
Negroes and poor whites who act with them had 
a majority on every jury so that it was impossible 
to convict one of their number no matter how plain 
the evidence. And even if convicted was prompt- 
ly pardoned by the infamous executive, Moses. 
To such an extent was this carried that Carpenter, 


the Republican Judge of the circuit, announced 
that he would not permit the State to be put to 
the expense of trying criminals who were pardoned 
as soon as convicted. The citizens assert that 
Lynch law is the only remedy for the evils they 
endure and therefore they proclaim it. They may 
be wrong but they are more sinned against than 
sinning." 17 

III. "Augusta, Ga., Aug. 23. Several promi- 
nent Negroes connected with the troubles in the 
qounties below have made confessions. Jake 
Moorman, First Lieutenant of a Negro company, 
testifies on oath that 19 counties were to be em- 
braced in the insurrection. All white men and 
ugly white women were to be killed. Pretty white 
women were to be spared and the land and spoils 
were to be divided among the Negroes. 18 All who 
have so far confessed testify to substantially the 
same as Jake Moorman." 19 

"Editorial, St. Louis Republican, Jan. i, 1875. 

"This recalls an account of the Texan Negro insurrection of 
1860 as quoted by The Liberator of July 21, 1860: "The old 
females were to be slaughtered along with the men, and the 
young and handsome women were to be parcelled out among 
those infamous scoundrels. They had even gone so far as to 
designate their choice. . . . The Negroes have been incited to 
these infernal proceedings by the abolitionists." 

19 St. Louis Republican, Aug. 24, 1875. Accounts of riots in 
Mississippi, in which several were killed, were given by the 
same paper, Sept 5, 7, 1875. 


However, in some States, for instance, Vir- 
ginia, Maryland, and Delaware, where the 
Southern whites had control, order was preserved 
and comparative quiet prevailed, while the lynch- 
ing of Negroes was sporadic, not only during this 
early period, but even until the present. Discord 
and collisions between the two races have been 
almost unknown. 

It is doubtful if any greater mistake was made 
in dealing with the South after the War than in 
disfranchising the leading Southern whites and 
granting the Negro suffrage. The Negro might 
have been given the ballot gradually as he proved 
himself fitted for it without any detriment. But 
considering the race as a whole it may be put- 
ting it too mild it may be too great a compli- 
ment to the Negro, too disparaging to the in- 
telligence of the average white boy, to say that 
the Negroes, with some exceptions, at that time 
were no more fit for the ballot than seven-year-old 
boys. Nor was it any more reasonable to expect 
them to act the part of men in using it, or in politi- 
cal affairs, than to expect it from seven-year-old 
boys. They were, and to a large extent are yet, 
a race in its childhood. 

President Lincoln, however, seems to have un- 
derstood better than any one else of his party 
what was for the best interest of both races : That 


the Negroes, at least, for a while, with proper 
guarantees and restrictions, should be in a posi- 
tion of tutelage or apprenticeship to the whites. 
Indeed, there is little doubt that he expected the 
Southern States to make some such temporary ar- 
rangements, for in a proclamation, December 8, 
1863, in reference to the reestablishment of State 
governments by several States of the farther 
South, he says : 

"That any provision which may be adopted by 
such State government, in relation to the freed 
people of such State which shall recognize and 
declare their permanent freedom, provide for 
their education, and which may yet be consistent 
as a temporary arrangement with their present 
condition as a laboring, landless and homeless 
class, will not be objected to by the National Ex- 

But unfortunately for both races in the South, 
Lincoln was assassinated. 



BEGINNING in 1885, The Chicago Daily Trib- 
une 1 has kept a record of lynchings to the present 
time. Although statistics are to many very dry 
reading, nevertheless, to others, who are more im- 
pressed by facts than fancy, they are of the most 
intense interest. However that may be, here they 

1 Lynchings in the country for the past thirty-two years ac- 
cording to The Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 30, 1916: 

1885 184 1901 130 

1886 138 1902 96 

1887 122 1903 104 

1888 142 1904 87 

1889 176 1905 60 

1890 127 1906 60 

1891 191 1907 65 

1892 205 1908 100 

1893 2OO 1909 87 

1894 190 1910 74 

1895 171 1911 71 

1896 131 1912 64 

1897 106 1913 48 

1898 127 1914 54 

1899 107 1915 98 

1900 115 1916 58 



appear to be indispensable to any satisfactory con- 
sideration of the subject. 

The following statistics which are based upon 
the records of The Chicago Daily Tribune are 
compiled by periods: excepting the last which is 
for four years, these periods were taken almost in- 
discriminately for two years together, beginning 
with 1885 and 1886: 

AND 1886 

In the United States there were 314: 159 
whites, 149 Negroes, and 6 Chinamen; 62 in the 
North, 252 in the South. Of those lynched in 
the South, 144 were Negroes; nearly all the 
whites were lynched in the Southwest for horse- 
stealing and murder; the Negroes were lynched 
for the following causes: 51, rape; 65, murder; 
12, incendiarism; 6, arson; 3, cattle and horse- 
stealing; i, self-defense; I, robbery; I, threat of 
political exposures; i, assault; 2 cutting levees; 
i, cause not mentioned. There were also 191 legal 
executions in the country; 72 Negroes in the South, 
63 for murder and 9 for rape. 

YEARS 1892 AND 1893 

The whole number for the country was 436: 
309 Negroes, no whites, 5 Mexicans, and 8 In- 
dians. 53 lynchings in the North. 287 Negroes 
in the South: 74, rape; 18, attempted rape; 5, al- 
leged rape; i, attempted rape total, 88 for rape. 
99, murder. Nearly all the remainder for mur- 
derous assault, alleged or complicity in murder, 
arson, etc. 231 legal executions. 127 of these 
were Negroes in the South: 1 18, murder; 6, rape; 
3, arson. In the North, 9 Negroes were legally 
executed for murder. 

AND 1902 

Lynchings for the country, 231. 29, North; 
202, South. 194 Negroes; 35 whites; 2 Indians; 
i Chinaman. 185 Negroes lynched in the South: 
40, rape; 19, attempted rape total, 59 for rape; 
63, murder; 7, murderous assault; 4, complicity 
in murder; 3, suspected murder; 3, implicated in 
murder; 2, sheltering murderers; i, attempted 
murder; 6, theft; 5, Negroes' quarrel of profit 
sharing; 4, race prejudice; i, making threats; i, 
lawlessness; i, mistaken identity; remainder, 


causes not given. In the North, 9 Negroes were 
lynched, 5 for rape and 4 for murder. There 
were 262 legal executions, of which 162 were Ne- 
groes. Execution of Negroes in South: 128, 
murder; 14, rape; 4, attempted rape. In the 
North, 1 6 Negroes were executed for murder, 
nearly all in Pennsylvania. 

AND 1907 

For the United States, 132. 3, North; 129, 
South. Negroes lynched in the South, 129: 27, 
rape; 25, attempted rape; 2 rape and murder; I, 
suspected rape total, 55 for rape; 2 32, murder; 
13, murderous assault; 5, race riot; remainder, 
minor causes. There were also 189 legal execu- 
tions. Of these 115 were Negroes in the South, 
15 for rape and 100 for murder. 


During these four years there were 235 lynch- 
ings in the United States. 1 1, North; 224, South. 

2 It seems fair to count rape, alleged rape, attempted rape, and 
so on, all as rape; for it often happens that a Negro commits 
rape and escapes entirely. As an example, see account of the 
lynching of Ed. Berry (Baltimore Sun, Aug. 27, 1915). Berry 
confessed to twelve cases of criminal assault, each victim being 
a white woman. 


In the North, 5 Negroes and 6 whites were 
lynched; in the South, 215 Negroes, 8 whites, and 
i Mexican. The causes for the lynching of Ne- 
groes in the South were as follows: 33, rape; 8, 
attempted rape; 2, alleged rape, total, 43 for 
rape; 117, murder; 14, murderous assault; 3, 
complicity in murder; I, suspicion of murder; i, 
alleged murder; 5, arson; 5, race prejudice; 8, 
insulting white women ; 1 1 , by night riders in Ken- 
tucky; i, refusal to pay note; i, race troubles; i, 
threat to kill; i, assault and robbery; i, horse- 
stealing; i, annoying white women.; remainder, 
cause not given. The number of legal executions 
in the whole country for the four years, were 381. 
Of these 136 were Negroes, 1 12 in the South, and 
24 for murder in the North. In the South: 93, 
murder; 10, rape; 2, attempted rape; i, burglary; 
4, cause not given. 

Now, adverting to the statistics for 1873-5, 
not far removed from the beginning of the Negro- 
lynching disorder, it is found that of the 44 Ne- 
groes lynched in the South during the three years, 
30, or 70 per cent, were lynched for rape; while 
but 14, or 30+ per cent, were lynched for all 
other causes combined. Thus it is seen that at 
this time rape was practically the only cause for 
the lynching of Negroes in the South. 


Moreover, it is quite evident from the statistics 
above given, beginning with 1885, that rape has 
continued to be, if not the whole cause for the 
lynching of Negroes in the South, anyhow almost 
that, with other crimes as merely incidental: 

The three pairs of years, 1885-6, 1901-2, and 
1906-7, show 165 Negroes lynched in the 
South for rape, 160 for murder, and 127 for all 
other causes. Here rape takes the lead. Adding 
to these figures the statistics for 1892-3, the num- 
bers for the four pairs of year are: 259, murder; 
253, rape; and 227, minor causes. Again, adding 
for the four years 1911-14, the result for the 
twelve years, is: 376, or 39+ per cent, mur- 
der; 296, or 31+ per cent, rape; and 282, or 
29+ per cent, minor causes. This would seem to 
indicate that rape was not even the leading cause. 

However, according to the statistics for the 
twelve years under consideration, 502, or 57+ per 
cent of the Negroes in the South who committed 
murder during these years were legally executed, 
and but 376, or 43 per cent were lynched; 
while for rape, only 60, or 16+ per cent were 
legally executed, and 296, or 84 per cent were 
lynched. 8 The proportion may be stated thus: 

'This argument assumes, of course, that all Negroes who 
murdered whites in the South were either lynched or legally exe- 
cuted, and that all Negroes caught who committed rape against 
white women were likewise dealt with. It seems to be about 
as fair in one case as the other to assume this. 


57 *43 : :i6 :84=7+. This shows that a Negro is 
more than seven times as liable to be lynched in 
the South for rape than even for murder. 

Indeed, the belief of the average white man 
of the South that lynching is the most effective way 
of dealing with the Negro for his crime against 
white women also seems to be borne out by the 
statistics: In 1892-3, 88 Negroes were lynched 
for rape; in 1901-2, 59; while for the four years 
1911-14, only 43. That this great reduction in 
rape cases and lynchings was not due to legal ex- 
ecutions is shown by the fact that during the same 
time but 36 Negroes were legally executed, only 
12 of these being for the four years 1911-14. 
Thus as a consequence of a reduction in the crime 
of rape by Negroes is noted a great reduction in 
the lynching of Negroes, from 287 in 1892-3; 
185, 1901-2; 129, 1906-7; to 91 for 1913-14. 

However, during 1915 and 1916, 104 Negroes 
were lynched in the South as compared with 91 
for 1913 and 1914. The increased number 
lynched for rape is very marked: being only 13 
for 1913 and 1914, but twice the number, or 26, 
for 1915 and 1916. During the former two 
years, also, 6 Negroes were legally hanged for 
rape as compared to 12 for the latter. The pro- 
portion remains the same: thus during 1913 and 


1914, 19 Negroes in the South were put to death 
for rape as compared with 38 for 1915 and 1916. 

Although the legal execution of 12 Negroes in 
the South for rape during 1915 and 1916 may 
show a tendency to allow the law to take its 
course in such cases, may not the above statistics 
also indicate that when for a few years but few 
lynchings occurred, especially for the crime of 
rape, that the effect of such immediate and fearful 
punishment consisting of burning as it sometimes 
does gradually fades from the mind of the 
Negro inclined to such crime, with a great in- 
crease of rape as a consequence? 

Again, in extenuation of lynching, it is im- 
portant to observe, that, as a result of most crimes 
against the body, such as murder, but little, if 
any, humiliation attaches. But it is quite differ-^- 
ent in rape cases. Not only is there often great 
physical injury, but also an unutterable humilia- 
tion. Our civilization teaches that one should \ 
hold certain personal rights and considerations 
even more dear than life itself. To have in mind 
such ideas and live up to them measures our 
reach above lower peoples. That this feeling or 
spirit should be encouraged, rather than risk its 
check, is not to be questioned. Therefore, the 
average Southern white man does not believe that 
the innocent rape victim of a Negro should be 


U. obliged to endure further humiliation incident 
upon her appearance in a court of law. 

In this connection, a set of resolutions published 
by those who lynched a Negro at Annapolis, Md., 
in 1875, are interesting. These resolutions, which 
set forth the causes of the act, were drawn up 
before the lynching took place and show serious 
consideration. I quote: 4 

"Fellow Citizens: In view of the fact that 
we are about to take into our hands the sword of 
justice to do to death one who is now incarcerated 
in our county jail, it is meet that we should give 
.V some reason for the purpose we hope to consum- 
mate. First, then: While we can but honor the 
deep feeling of interest manifested by those who 
are the proper guardians of our lives, our prop- 
erty, and our honor; and while we, as true and 
loyal citizens of the State of Maryland, and of 
Anne Arundel County, do bend to the supreme 
majesty of the law and acknowledge trials by jury 
as the very arch-stone in the grand edifice of hu- 
man rights, still we know the vilest criminal is ac- 
corded the same rights under the law that belong 
to the petty thief, nor can this devil incarnate, 
should he claim his rights, be denied the privilege 
of a change of venue, such a circumstance might 

* Baltimore American, June 15, 1875. 


probably rob the gallows of its due and foil the * 
aims of the law. Before God we believe in the 
existence of a higher code than that which is digni- 
fied by the great seal of a Commonwealth and that 
the high and holy time to exercise it is when the 
chastity of our women is tarnished by the foul 
breath of an imp from hell and the sanctity of our I 
homes invaded by a demon. 

"Secondly, admitting that in the event of a 
trial by a jury he shall be hanged a highly prob- 
able result yet would his execution be as illegal 
as though done by a band of wronged citizens; 
for must not a juror be a peer, and with a mind, 
free of bias, and where can a man be found com- 
petent to try this case? Who can be found of 
his level, and who that has heard has not already 
convicted him in his mind? At best, that which 
would be done under the semblance of law would 
be a more sham by force of all the circumstances 
connected with this horrible deed, and if under the 
law the penalty is death, and we know the deed 
was committed by him we claim that there is n5 
moral difference in the means of destroying him, 
and we act upon this conviction. 

"Thirdly, we are not willing that the victim 
shall be dragged into court to tell over and over 
again the story of her terrible wrongs, or that 
her name shall be entered upon the records of 


our criminal jurisprudence for future reference." 
Further comment on this lynching is unnec- 
essary unless indirectly: the Negro, child of 
Africa, but lately removed from the jungle, be- 
cause of the necessity of the habitat of his origin, 
has had developed in him by nature, possibly, 
stronger sexual passion than is to be found in any 

\other race. 5 But he is infinitely lacking in the 
high mental, moral, and emotional qualities that 
are especially characteristic of the Anglo-Saxon, 
and it is a grievous mistake to attribute such high 
qualities to him. When proper restraint is re- 
moved from the Negro he gets beyond bounds. 
The Anglo-Saxon, indeed, or members of that 
race, has a way of meeting extraordinary condi- 
tions with extraordinary means hence lynching in 
* order to hold in check the Negro in the South. 

Indeed, a country occupied by two races so 
widely apart in origin, characteristics, and devel- 
opment as the whites and the Negroes of the 
Southern States one race of the highest mental 
endowments and culture, the other of the lowest 
one having a civilization that reaches back hun- 
dreds, if not thousands, of years, the other in 
the early dawn of civilization might reasonably 
have two codes of law suited, as nearly as pos- 
sible, to each race, respectively. 

"To make up for the high death rate. 


A mode of punishment that would be out of 
place as to the white man may be well suited to 
the Negro. Small-pox is not to be treated as 
chicken-pox. Barbarous criminals require bar-, 
barous laws. The innocent and law-abiding cit- 
izens of a State have rights as well as the crim- 
inals at least, the right to protection from the 
criminals. But let some crafty scoundrel finally 
get in jail, and he will be flooded with letters of 
consolation and sympathy from sentimental 
women and soft-headed men. 6 And let some 
Negro brute, guilty of rape, suffer the punishment 
he so richly deserved at the hands of an outraged 
community, and one would think, if he considered 
the bitter censure from distant quarters, that the 
foundations of the government were being under- 
mined, or that a poor lamb was set upon by a 
pack of howling wolves, thirsting for its blood, 
but not a word of commiseration for the family, 
or the victim, of the fiendish Negro's unbridled 

Moreover, instead of a Negro's being over- 
awed by the solemn deliberations of a court, 
rather, as he is the center of interest, he all but 

Joliet, 111., Sept. 10 (1917), Riot in Staff Prison. Rioters 
numbered about fifty. Had become angered at impositions of 
restrictions. "Among the privileges previously enjoyed by the 
convicts was an almost unlimited correspondence with senti- 
mental women." Washington (D. C.) Star, Sept. 10, 1917. 


enjoys it. For once in his life he finds himself 
in a position of prominence. It would be contrary 
to the Negro nature if he were not somewhat 
elated at being the object of so much attention. 
Even were this not the case, he has no such ap- 
preciation of his degradation as the white man 
feels under similar circumstances. Indeed, it 
would sometimes appear as almost a triumphal 
procession for him from the time he gets in jail 
until he reaches the gallows. The two quotations 
below may help to justify this idea : 

"Joe Clark, colored, . . . was hanged 
at this place on Friday forenoon, in the presence 
of about 3,000 persons, mostly Negroes. Clark 
spoke about fifteen minutes, giving a detailed ac- 
count of the murder and fully confessing the 
crime. He advised all present to live an upright 
life. . . . After he had shaken hands with 
his friends the trap was sprung, and thus the sen- 
tence of the court was duly executed. Clark's 
last request was that the black cap be kept of, so 
that all might see how easy he could meet death"' 1 

The second one is taken from accounts of the 
execution at Denton, Md., of "Wish" Shepperd, 
colored, for the outrage of a fifteen-year-old white 
girl: 8 

' Taken from Richmond Enquirer, May 4, 1775. 
* Baltimore Sun, August 27-28, 1915. 


"He told his spiritual advisers that he had a 
message for the public: 'Tell all the young men 
to avoid the fate that awaits me by joining the 
church and attending its services.' [Evidently 
inspired by his preacher advisers] . . . 
He slumbered soundly, the guards noticed, and 
awoke early this morning apparently indifferent 
to his doom. . . . With a firm step he 
accompanied the officers and his spiritual advisers 
to the scaffold which was erected near the Chop- 
tank River. Passing undismayed through the 
throng which had gathered along the way from 
the prison to the gallows. His gaze passed fear- 
lessly around surveying the people." . . . 

Again, in connection with the lynching of 
Negroes in the South, one must not lose sight 
of the conditions that are peculiar to that section. 
The greater the number of Negroes in propor- 
tion to the whites in any State or community the 
easier it is for the Negro to commit crime and 
escape. And the Negro criminal does often es- 
cape. Seldom is it found that the Negro will 
aid in the detection of the Negro criminal, rather 
otherwise. Even the hope of escape is a won- 
derful encouragement to the criminally inclined. 

Now, before the War, as is well known, the 
South was almost entirely an agricultural section. 


It had but few cities and these were small. In the 
last thirty or forty years, however, it has been 
rapidly developing manufacturing industries. 
Some of the cities have become great industrial 

Nor is manufacturing confined at all to the 
large cities. Indeed, almost every town in some 
parts has a cotton mill or other establishment. As 
illustrations, I may mention Hickory, N. C., and 
La Grange, Ga. Hickory, with a population of 
about 5,000, has two large cotton mills; the Pied- 
mont Wagon Shops, which employs hundreds of 
men; several furniture factories, saw mills, and 
other industrial interests. La Grange, a city ol 
about 6,000, has ten cotton mills, one of which is 
valued at $1,000,000, and four of the others at 
$500,000, each. In the manufacture of cotton 
alone the South has increased from 316,000 bales 
in 1885 to 3,193,000 bales in 1915. 

As a consequence the white people have largely 
been drawn to the towns and cities : the wealthier 
own and control the various business interests 
while the poorer ones contribute their help or la- 
bor. Few Negroes work in the factories, for the 
Negro seems to lack the qualities necessary: name- 
ly, punctuality, dependability, and a certain amount 
of mental alertness. So, in some parts of the 
South the whites are nearly all living in the towns 


and cities, while the country districts are filled with 
Negroes. However, even in such places there are 
some whites in the country, and as is evident, in 
additional danger. 

Moreover, the population of several Southern 
States is nearly half Negro, while in two, South 
Carolina and Mississippi, it is even more than 
half Negro, being 55+ per cent and 56+ per 
cent, respectively. Indeed, in 53 counties of the 
South the Negro population of each exceeds 75 
per cent. In Tensas Parish, La., and Isoquena 
County, Miss., the Negro population is 91.5 per 
cent and 94.2 per cent, respectively. That is, in 
every 1,000 persons one meets in Isoquena County, 
Miss., 942 are Negroes and but 58, white. Such 
conditions should be readily appreciated. Is it 
any wonder that the white man thinks it necessary 
to strike terror into the soul of the possible or 
incipient Negro criminal by any method that may 
cause him to stand in fear of an immediate and 
dreadful death? 

Further, the origin of a great part of these Ne- 
groes, especially those of the farther South, is, 
also, worthy of consideration. 

During the operation of the internal slave trade, 
it was usually the most undesirable, unruly, and 
the criminally inclined Negroes of the border 
slave States that were sold to the States of the 


farther South ; nor should it be forgotten that be- 
tween 1808 and 1860 the farther South received 
around 270,000 Negroes from outside the United 
States. 9 It seems likely that the greater part of 
these were barbarous Negroes, directly from 
Africa. It was these criminal and barbarous Ne- 
groes, along with their children and grand-chil- 
dren, who by the fortune of war, without home or 
master, were turned loose on the South. 

Thus it is that the white woman is obliged to 
be constantly on her guard against the Negro, 
otherwise rape cases would be multiplied. 10 An 
idea of the necessity of this and the hardship of 
it may be had from the following quotation : 

"In a population about evenly divided in North 
Carolina was a family of unpretending intelligent 

"There was a school house only a mile and a 
half away, but they could not let their two daugh- 
ters go to it. They could not let them stir away 
from home unprotected. They had to pay for 
their education at home, while at the same time 
they were being taxed for the education of the Ne- 
gro children of the district. 

' W. H. Collins, "The Domestic Slave Trade," p. 20. 

"It is unlikely that all rape cases get in the papers. An intel- 
ligent resident of Rapides Parish, La., told the writer that four 
cases of rape occurred in that parish once within a month. 


' 'Do you think,' was asked a leading Negro 
educator, 'that those girls could safely have gone 
to school?' 

1 'It would depend upon the district,' was the 
reply. 'In some districts the girls could have gone 
to school safely enough; in others, no.' 
"This I think was a terrible admission." n 

As the world is to be made safe for democracy, j 
so ought the South to be made free for white 
women. Is it not the business of the South to en- 
deavor to make the South safe for white women 
by whatever method appears to be most effective ? 
The women of the South should be just as free 
to go when, where, and as they please as women 
in other sections of the country and not be, as has 
been so aptly put by John Temple Graves, "pris- 
oners to danger and fear": 

"In a land of light and liberty, in an age of en- 
lightenment and law, the women of the South are 
prisoners to danger and fear. While your women 
may walk from suburb to suburb, and from town- 
ship to township, without escort and without 
alarm, there is not a woman of the South, wife 
or daughter, who would be permitted or who 
would dare to walk at twilight unguarded through 

"William Archer, "Through Afro America," London, 1910, 
p. 22. 


the resident streets of a populous town, or to ride 
the outside highways at midday. 

"The terror of the twilight deepens with the 
darkness, and in the rural regions every farmer 
leaves his home with apprehension in the morning, 
and thanks God when he comes from the fields 
at evening to find all well with the women of his 
home." 12 

A few words now as to the minor causes of 
lynching. In reading the annual summary of 
lynchings given by the Chicago Tribune, one may 
get the impression that Negroes are often lynched 
for very trifling things. Investigation, however, 
is apt to show that back of any such lynching was 
something much more serious than what appears 
on the face. Many illustrations might be given 
but one may suffice: thirteen Negroes lynched in 
Arkansas, March 26, 1904, cause, race preju- 
dice. 13 The following account of this affair is 
abbreviated from an Arkansas paper: 14 

"Dewitt (Ark.), March 25. Five Negroes 
who had been arrested as a result of the race 
troubles at St. Charles, were taken from the 

"Address: John Temple Graves, New York Times, Sept. 4, 

"The Chicago Daily Tribune, Dec. 31, 1904. 

14 Arkansas Gazette (Little Rock), March 26, 1904. See also 
Daily Arkansas Democrat, March 29, 1904. 


guards by a crowd of men last night and shot to 
death. . . . The five victims make nine Negroes 
that have been killed within the past week in the 
vicinity of St. Charles. . . . 

"A few days ago a difficulty occurred over a 
trivial matter at St. Charles between a white man 
by the name of Searcy and two Negroes by the 
names of Henry and Walker Griffin. One of the 
Negroes threatened to knock Searcy in the head 
with a beer bottle. The trouble was stopped for 
the time being, but on Monday last the two Ne- 
groes met Searcy and his brother in the store of 
Woolfords and Marsworthy in St. Charles, and 
the difficulty was renewed. One of the Negroes 
without warning, struck both of the Searcy boys 
over the head with a table leg, rendering them 
unconscious and fracturing their skulls, one of 
them to such an extent that he may die. The 
Deputy Sheriff, . . . James Kirkpatrick, at- 
tempted to arrest the Negroes and he, too, was 
knocked down. 

"The Negroes then gathered and defied the of- 
ficers, declaring that 'No white man could arrest 
them.' Their demonstrations aroused the fear of 
the citizens of St. Charles and they phoned to this 
place for a posse to come out and protect the 
town. P. A. Douglass, deputy sheriff, went out 
with five men, Wednesday morning. Constable 


L. C. Neely went forward with a posse of several 
men to capture the Griffin Negroes. The con- 
stable met three Negroes ... in the road. He 
inquired of them if they knew where the Griffins 
were and one of them replied that they did, but 

'would tell no white ' the Negroes then 

attempted to draw their pistols, but the posse fired, 
killing all three of them. 

"Yesterday sixteen men left this place for the 
scene of the trouble. . . . Large crowds in from 
Roc, Ethel, and Clarenden. During the day while 
the Sheriff's posse was searching for the Griffin 
Negroes, they were fired upon by a Negro . . . 
from ambush. Three of the posse were hit, but 
the shot used were small, and no serious damage 
resulted. The posse returned the fire, and a shot 
. . . felled the Negro to the ground. Several 
other shots were fired into him, killing him in- 

"Five other Negroes . . . who were the Ne- 
groes that had defied the officers, were arrested, 
and last night a crowd of men took them away 
from the guards and shot them to death." The 
next issue of the same paper stated that two more 
Negroes had been killed, and the Daily Arkansas 
Democrat, March 29, reported that the Griffins 
who were the cause of the original trouble had 
been killed, completing the list of thirteen. 


The above quotation is given merely as an ex- 
ample of a state of affairs so apt to exist in con- 
nection with what usually passes as trivial causes 
for lynching. May those at a distance from such"! ^, 
conditions the better understand! 

Thus far I have not discussed lynching in the 
North, nor do I purpose to do so ; but a few words 
in passing seem pertinent. There is no basis for 
the assumption, which some seem innocently to 
hold, that the people of the North are inherently 
good and law-abiding, while those of the South 
are inherently wicked and lawless. Indeed, sta- 
tistics would seem to indicate the opposite. 15 In 
1910 over 750 persons to the 100,000 popula- 
tion were committed to prison in New England as 
against less than 450 in the South. I take it that 
the people of the North are neither better nor 
worse than those of the South. The same condi- 
tions in either section would produce about the 
same results. The statistics of lynching I gathered 
for the North were merely incidental. However, 
for 1901 and 1902, I find that nine Negroes were 
lynched in the North, four for murder and five 
for rape. 

Further evidence that the people of the North 
will engage in lynching when necessity dictates 
may be had from the early history of California. 

"Statistical Abstract of the U. S., 1915, p. 55. 


Vigilance committees for the protection of the 
better class of citizens against the disorderly and 
criminal elements, were organized without war- 
rant of law. In writing of one of these commit- 
tees H. H. Bancroft says that it was well repre- 
sented by men of wealth, intelligence and indus- 
try, and that "the largest element comprised men 
from the Northeastern part of the United 
States." 16 

Of remedies for lynching I have none. Of pro- 
posed remedies, I have only to say that those 
which seem in any way practicable might result in 
unmerited hardship to whites and an increase in 
rape cases as well. Any hope of escape or miti- 
gation of punishment that even unintentionally 
may be held out to the criminal serves as a won- 
derful stimulant to crime. The positive knowl- 
edge on the part of those criminally inclined that 
punishment will be immediate, sure, and adequate, 
is the best deterrent. The Negro is a creature 
that lives in the present and even postponement of 
punishment robs it of much of its force. The law 
sanctions personal self-defense. The white man 
in lynching a Negro does it as an indirect act of 
self-defense against the Negro criminal as a race. 

When the abnormally criminal Negro race 
(partly so, no doubt, because he is not yet ad- 

19 H. H. Bancroft, "Popular Tribunals," Vol. II, pp. 666-7. 


justed to his environment) puts himself in har- 
mony with our civilization, if ever, through as- 
similating our culture and making our ideals its 
own, then may it be hoped that his crimes will be 
reduced to normal and lynching will cease, the 
cause being removed. 



THE present criminal status of the Negro, 
and his criminal record since the Civil War as 
well, should cause every member of the race in 
America to hang his head in shame. 

Yet, may it not be that, after all, the Negro is, 
to a large extent, an irresponsible creature of cir- 
cumstances, and that his crimes are upon the heads 
of those who unwisely placed him in a position 
that he was unable to occupy, except with in- 
jury to all concerned? 

Scholars hold that the average citizen of the 
ancient Athenian Democracy, the greatest of an- 
cient democracies, was as intelligent as the aver- 
age member of the British Parliament, or of the 
American Congress. The Negro, however, with 
all his barbarism and ignorance, totally unrelated 
to the white man in origin, character, and race, 
directly after his emancipation, was made a full- 
fledged citizen in the greatest of modern democ- 
racies. The fact is appalling. 



Stupidity unsurpassed, unless by the pacifist 
visionaries of the present day who seek to usher in 
the millennium by proclamation, peace treaties, 
world federations, or leagues to enforce peace. 
Human nature cannot be changed overnight by 
edict. When the sun fails to rise wars will cease. 
It is to be hoped that enough sanity yet remains 
in the American people to save them from such 
nonsensical vagaries of sentimental dreamers. 

But the Negro, son of a wild and tropical race, 
content for thousands of years to roam the jungles 
of Africa, supplied by bountiful nature with all 
his heart's desire, failing thus to develop any con- 
trolling trait of character, or mental stamina, and 
although civilizations rose and fell beside him, it 
meant nothing to him. And even now in the midst 
of American civilization he is moved to action, 
mainly, by the gusts of primitive emotion and 
passion. This is the creature that was expected to 
take an equal share in the government of the most 
enlightened and progressive people that the world 
has ever known. 

"Who sows to the wind shall reap the whirl- 
wind." So to-day all other domestic problems or 
questions pale before "What shall be done about 
the Negro? The mob acts upon it, conventions 
of learned sociologists discuss it. Every superficial 
thinker has a solution of the problem, ready 


made, but never in good working order. The Ne- 
gro is such a problem in our society mainly, no 
doubt, because he represents the chief criminal ele- 
ment, how criminal, let statistics, by way of com- 
parison, declare: 

In the Northern and Western States in 1910, 
one white person was in a penal institution for 
every 982 of the white population, and one Negro 
for every 123 of the Negro population; while 
in the South, the ratio was one to every 2014 for 
the white, and one Negro to every 308 of the 
Negro population. Thus in the North Negroes 
had eight times their proportion in prison, and in 
the South six and one-half times. That Negro 
crime is on the increase is evidenced by the fact 
that in 1 890 the Negroes had hardly six times their 
proportion in prison in the North, and hardly five 
times their share in the South. 

In this connection statistical tables should be 
helpful and interesting as well. Table I gives a 
comparative showing of whites and Negroes in 
some State penitentiaries. Instead of giving the 
number of prisoners on hand at a certain time, 
some prison reports give the number received and 
discharged during a certain period of time while 
a few give both. In Table II is given the num- 
ber of prisoners received by the penitentiaries of 
a few States during a specified time. 




Population in 1910 


Number in Penitentiary 1 

Fimes the 
lumber of 
fcgroes to 
fear 1910, 
or There- 





Negro "5 



008,883 i 


4 l6 


535 ] 
1.976 \ 
3,352 J 




1,176,087 I 





1.989 ) 
3,170 J 


Mississippi.. . 


1,009,487 | 




928 | 

l ' ss i 
1,336 j 

7 + 

Maryland. . . 


232,250 | 




586 i 
663 } 
682 J 


Tennessee. . . 


473.088 I 




1.336 ] 
1.397 } 
1,208 j 




443,891 1 




S } 




690,049 1 
713.894 I 








1.987 l 
3,095 / 

38 1 

1.663 J 

5 + 


Kentucky . . . 


361,656 | 




739 1 
736 / 


Connecticut. . 



15,174 | 
54.030 1 
89,760 { 








% \ 
56 J 

399 1 
269 / 

346 \ 
339 / 



New Jersey.. 



"1,453 1 

1,631 K 




i, no 



407 1 
417 / 

* 1 
13 J 


Vermont .... 



Times as 


Negroes as 

Convicts Received 

it the 



Population in 1910 

Penitentiary During 




Year White 


in Propor- 
tion to 

of Each 



Nov. i, 1912 1 




to [ 606 



Oct. 31,1914 J 

Alabama .... 



[Sept. i, 1910 ] 
to 587 



Aug. 31, 1914 J 




July 1,1908) 
to } 217 



June 30, 1910 J 

1906 513 

306 1 

1909 560 


Missouri .... 



1910 543 


K 11 + 

1912 660 


1914 803 

378 , 

Maryland . . . 



Nov. 30, 1910 / I29 


7 + 



[Sept. 1,1908] 
690,049 { to [835 
[ Oct. 31, 1910 J 



Louisiana .... 



I9IO 1 202 

L 1915 J 257 

549 1 
654 J 


Year Ending \ 
Oct. 3I.I907/ 4 2 

.45 ] 





Year Ending \ , 
,Oct. 31,1910; s 4 

169 . 

[Two Years ] 

W. Virginia.. 



Ending \ 519 
Sept. 30, 1908 J 



< Both Tables I and II have reference to penetentiaries, no account being taken 
of other penal institutions. The calculations are based upon the census of 1910 and 
penitentiary reports of the same year, or thereabouts, but some prison, statistics for 
other years are also given. 


For the Southern States considered, Table I 
shows that the number of Negro prisoners around 
1910, varied 'according to the State from five plus 
times their proportion in Louisiana to eleven times 
in Georgia. While in the North, the number 
varied from eight times in Connecticut to seven- 
teen minus times in Kansas. Thus showing that 
the Negro is everywhere many times more criminal 
than the white man, and that his criminality is 
more pronounced in the North than in the South. 

That he is discriminated against by the court, 
and otherwise, is sometimes given as a reason 
for the great criminal showing of the Negro ; that 
for the same kind of crime the Negro gets a much' 
longer sentence than a white man, etc. This is \ 
hardly to be held as against the North, and that it 
is true to any appreciable extent in the South is 
doubtful, but hard to determine, absolutely. 

As Table I gives the number of prisoners on 
hand at a certain time and Table II the number 
committed to prison during a period of time, 2 
other things being equal, it is clear that if the 
Negro is discriminated against through the length 
of sentence imposed on him by the court, it should 
be shown by a smaller number being sent to prison 

* Some State penitentiary reports give the number of prisoners 
on hand at a certain time, others simply those committed during 
a period of time, while a few reports give both items. 


in proportion to the respective population of the 
two races in any State than is to be found on hand 
at a certain time. For instance, at the Maryland 
and the Texan penitentiaries, according to the 
above tables, in 1910 the numbers of Negroes on 
hand were, respectively, eight-minus times and 
eight-plus times their proportion, while those com- 
mitted for the same year were seven-plus and sev- 
en, respectively. This would seem to indicate that 
in neither Maryland nor Texas was there but lit- 
tle, if any discrimination against the Negro. But 
a comparison of the statistics for Arkansas and 
Louisiana seems to show that the Negro is dis- 
criminated against in these States. However, 
upon further investigation it is found that ninety- 
one Negroes were sent to the Louisiana peniten- 
tiary in 1911 for murder and manslaughter, and 
thirty-two for shooting with intent to kill, as 
against thirty white men during the same year for 
these crimes. Again, in the Arkansas peniten- 
tiary in November, 1912, there were 213 white 
and 643 Negro prisoners. Of the whites but 50 
had committed homicide, while 2 1 8 of the Negro 
prisoners were guilty of the crime. 

Moreover, one might naturally expect that the 
whites, on account of greater influence, would be 
much more likely to secure pardons. It is doubt- 
ful if the whites are thus favored to any large ex- 


tent. Between November I, 1910, and October 
31, 1912, Arkansas granted pardons to 121 whites 
and 86 Negroes, while during the year ending No- 
vember 30, 1911, Kentucky pardoned nine white 
men and eighteen Negroes. If statistics were 
available from all the States it might be rather 
conclusively demonstrated that the Negro is dis- 
criminated against but little by the courts. 

In this connection it may be well also to note 
the fact that in Ohio fourteen-minus times as 
many as their proportion (according to Table II) 
were sent to the penitentiary; in West Virginia 
fifteen times, and in North Dakota forty-three 
times their proportion. 

A comparison of the number of whites and Ne- 
groes arrested a year in some of the large cities 
is given in the following table : 





Population in 1910 










Negro in 




f 1904 


10,954 1 






11,925 \ 16.5 


I 19x5 


10,954 J 

f 1905 


12^23 1 



85,008 i 



11,361 | 23 + 


I 1915 


15,840 J 




f 9 
1 X9IS 


38*5} I8 ~ 





f 1907 


4.653 \ 
4.852 [ 34+ 


I 1915 


9.508 J 


f xoo7 


2 631 } 

5. c 



1 19X3 


2,i&6 \ 16+ 
'3,x8s J 




TABLE HI (Continued) 
Population in 1910 Arrests 





































976 [ 

2,121 J 

1.663 1 
2,083 \ 
2,211 j 


6,917 1 
10,052 > 
II,l63 j 

S.375 1 

434 \ 
470 J 

3.674 1 

955 \ 
979 J 

17,430 ) 
17,632 V 
17,716 J 


20 + 



19-3 + 

26 + 



5 + 
13 + 



New Orleans. 

St Louis 

R. I 




Table III shows that for the cities given, one 
white person to twenty-one-plus of the white popu- 
lation was arrested during 1910 or thereabouts, 
but one to eight-minus of the Negro. In the cities 
of the North one to twenty-three whites were ar- 
rested and one to six Negroes; in the South ex- 
cluding Wilmington, Del., and Washington, one 
to twenty whites and one to eight for the Ne- 
groes. In Detroit: one for every two plus Ne- 
groes were arrested. 


In this connection, it would seem that a com- 
parison of the jail population of a Northern and a 
Southern State might be of interest. For this pur- 
pose Alabama and Connecticut were selected. In 
1910, Alabama had a white population of 1,228,- 
832 and 908,282 Negroes while Connecticut had 
1,098,897 whites and 15,174 Negroes. 8 

In both Alabama and Connecticut the ratio of 
whites and Negroes sent to jail during the fiscal 
year ending September 30, 1914, was about the 
same, one white to four Negroes. 4 However, in 
Alabama one white person to 216 of the white 
population as against one to 54 of the Negro, 
while in Connecticut, one white person to 100, and 
one Negro to 20 was put in jail. 

Again, the four counties of Connecticut embrac- 
ing the large cities of the State, and having nearly 
all the Negro population, sent to jail one white 
to 92 of the white population, and one Negro to 
24 of the Negro, or nearly four times their pro- 
portion. 5 But in the other four counties with an 

1 My statistics are based on the census of 1910. The Special 
Report of the Prison Inspector of Alabama for the year ending 
September 30, 1914, and the returns of the county jails of Con~ 
nccticut for the same period. As the white population of Con- 
necticut increased about 225,000 during the previous decade, 
while the Negroes slightly decreased, I added 70,000 to the white 
population of 1910 to offset the increase of whites during the 
three or four years between 1910 and 1914. But as both races 
increased in Alabama I use the 1910 census for that State. 

* In proportion to their respective population, of course. 

1 In order to avoid repetition, unless otherwise indicated, when 


aggregate of 187,058 whites and 1,661 Negroes 
the ratio was one to 174 for the whites, and one 
to 64 for the Negroes or hardly three times as 

Now, taking the three counties of Alabama in 
which the cities of Montgomery, Mobile, and Bir- 
mingham are located, with an aggregate popu- 
lation of 207,295 whites and 182,211 Negroes, 
one white person to 90 was sent to jail and one 
Negro to 21, or nearly four and one-half times 
as many. 

Moreover, twenty-two counties with no towns 
of more than 1000 population each, and having a 
total population of 293,187 whites and 274,533 
Negroes one white to 523 was sent to jail and one 
Negro to 141, or nearly four Negroes to one 

Also, in fourteen counties with cities of 1000 to 
10,000 population, and a total population of 205,- 
844 whites, and 207,966 Negroes, the races being 
almost equal in numbers, one white to 400, and one 
Negro to 75 were sent to jail, or six times the 
Negro's share. 

one white to four Negroes or any such ratio is mentioned, the 
meaning is this: I divide the white population of the state by 
the white prisoners for the number of white people to each white 
prisoner, and divide the Negro population of the State for the 
number of Negroes to each Negro prisoner, and then divide 
the white prisoners by the Negro to get the ratio of Negro pris- 
oners to the white. 


Furthermore, six counties consisting almost 
wholly of white people, having a total population 
of 119,496 whites and 5,670 Negroes, had in 
jail one white to 363 and one Negro to 27, or 
twelve Negroes to one white person. 

Moreover, eight counties of Alabama, with an 
aggregate population of 41,323 white and 185,222 
Negroes, about four and one-half times as many 
Negroes as whites, one white to 689 were sent to 
jail and one Negro to 156, or about four and one- 
half times as many. 

In studying the jail statistics of Alabama, 
whether cities or counties, it soon becomes evi- 
dent that the criminality of the Negro increases 
as his proportion to the whole population de- 
creases ; in other words, the fewer the Negroes in 
a given population the more criminal they appear. 
An examination of Tables I, II, and III will show 
that this is not only true of Alabama, but true, 
with scarcely an exception, both North and South. 
Negro crime seemingly increases in the cities and 
in the North and the West. So does the crime of 
the white man increase, although not to the same 

In general, the denser the population the more 
likely is friction to occur, or collisions among its 


units. But this is not an adequate explanation for 
the increase of Negro crime. Nor can it be ac- 
counted for except in small part, by attributing 
it to the more complex social environment of the 
cities and of the North. However, it is not to be 
doubted that the unstable character of the Negro 
is easily influenced by the temptations incident to 
city life. More important, no doubt, is the as- 
sumption that where Negroes are few in com- 
parison with the whites, they are more tempted 
to commit acts of thievery, robbery, and burglary. 
Again, in the cities, officers of the law are on the 
watch, consequently more apt to detect and catch 
a criminal ; also, where the Negroes are few they 
are likely to be held more strictly to the white 
man's standard of conduct. However, in some 
parts of the South, a white man sometimes may 
be arrested when for the same act a Negro would 
hardly be bothered. The idea seems to obtain 
that for certain things allowance must be made 
for the ignorance of the Negro, but no excuse is 
made for the white man. 

Again, a great deal of the friction between the 
two races in the South is caused by the resistance 
of Negro criminals to officers of the law. Not 
only so, but relatives, friends and other Negroes 
as well often attempt to shield the Negro criminal 


in order that he may escape detection and arrest. 
This is not exceptional but rather of frequent oc- 
currence. It is one of the ways in which the black 
man shows himself to be an enemy of law and 
order. He does not seem to realize the attitude 
in which he places his race in acting thus. Now, 
where the Negroes form a large part or the 
greater part of the population, it is much easier 
for him to aid Negro criminals, and it is often ef- 
fectively done. But where there are but few Ne- 
groes in the population, it is to that extent more 
difficult for the Negro criminal to escape detection 
and arrest. These seem to be the main reasons 
why Negroes appear more criminal where there 
are but few in the population. 

In addition to statistics, a few newspaper clip- 
pings may aid one more fully to appreciate Negro 
criminality. 7 It is hardly probable that anywhere 
in the United States has the Negro, on the whole, 
had better advantages than in Maryland, Virginia, 
and Delaware, especially is this true of the Eastern 
Shore of Maryland. For this reason the follow- 
ing are the more significant: 

7 1 made no effort to find these. I give here only a few of 
those taken from Baltimore Sun, Baltimore American, and refer 
mainly to Maryland, Virginia, and Delaware. What may be 
true in these States as regards Negro criminality, is likely to be 
found intensified farther south. ' 



"John E. Goode, a Negro, blew off the top of 
his head at Bedford City this morning in prefer- 
ence to appearing as a witness against Thomas W. 
Preston, the Negro murderer of M. D. Custy, a 
saloon-keeper. . . . Goode was present when the 
murder was committed. A Negro family named 
Davis, relatives of Preston, are said to have 
threatened Goode's life, if he testified." 8 

A Negro in Chestertown, Md., being tried on 
three charges of arson, attacks the officers of the 

"Pointing to the Negro, State's Attorney Vick- 
ers intimated that he had set fire to the beautiful 
buildings on the grounds of the Washington Col- 
lege near Chestertown. Suddenly the Negro 
made a leap for the States Attorney, but was 
stopped by Deputy Sheriff Brown. The enraged 
Negro turned and struck the deputy sheriff a stun- 
ning blow under the chin. ... It required seven 
men to quiet the Negro." 9 

"John Carter, the Negro who shot Policeman 
Elizabeth Faber and Patrolman George W. Popp 

8 Baltimore Sun, Jan. 6, 1910. 
* Baltimore News, Oct 20, 1916. 


on October 17 on the Edmondson Avenue bridge 
when they attempted to arrest him died in the city 
jail at 3.10 o'clock yesterday morning." 10 

"The final decision in the Brownsville incident 
is closed finally and the verdict will give entire 
satisfaction to everybody except Hon. Joseph 
Foraker of Ohio ; the Negro soldiers who shot up 
the Texas town and their comrades who concealed 
the guilt of the bloodthirsty marauders." " 

"Negro soldiers of the Twenty-fourth United 
States Infantry had planned a riot of bloodshed 
among the white residents of Houston (Texas) 
August 23, two days before the deadly attack 
which cost the lives of 15 Houston citizens last 
month, according to the report of the Civilian 
board of inquiry which reported to the Houston 
City Council to-night. . . . 

"The committee says that the undisputed and 
convincing testimony of witnesses proves that the 
Negro soldiers went forth to slay the white popu- 
lation indiscriminately: that no Negro was hurt 
or molested by them, not one Negro house was 
fired into, and that the Negroes were warned be- 
forehand ... to stay off the streets." 12 

10 Baltimore Sun, Aug. 4, 1915. 

11 Ibid., April 8, 1910. 
u Ibid., Sept 12, 1917. 


"The police of the Northwestern district are 
looking for about 25 Negroes who late Saturday 
night attempted to break down the front door of 
the boarding house conducted by Miss Mary Ash- 
ten at 906 McCulloh street." 13 

"Centerville, Md., Jan. 7. The Rev. J. D. 
Jackson, colored, pastor of Bethel-African Metho- 
dist Episcopal Church, was arrested and placed 
in jail here to-day charged with housebreaking and 
burglary." 14 

"Middletown, Del. The Rev. Aaron Gibbs, a 
Negro preacher, is being held in $500 bail for 
court for alleged theft of 280 pounds of meat 
from the farm of Daniel Ford, near this place. 
The meat was recovered at the home of Gibbs by 
Chief of Police, Lee Cochran." . . . 

"Another Negro, Arthur Brewington, wanted 
for theft of meat and chickens held the whole 
Smyrna police force at bay for hours, until his am- 
munition gave out. He then retreated escaping 
from the force into a deep swamp five miles 
away." 15 

13 Baltimore American, Feb. 18, 1913. 

14 Baltimore Sun, Jan. 8, 1917. 
- "Ibid., Feb. 21, 1917. 


"Seaford, Del., July 3. Negroes who live in 
and around Bridgeville attempted to take the 
town last night. . . . About 10 o'clock at night 
the Negroes began firing among themselves, and 
Bridgeville being without police protection, was 
at the mercy of their revolvers, which were being 
fired in rapid succession. The town seemed to be 
alive with brawling blacks, and several fights were 
started in different parts of the town. At the rail- 
road station a large crowd collected and fired shots 
in every direction. At a colored church another 
crowd got together, firing desperately among them- 
selves. The citizens being utterly helpless stayed 
in their houses behind locked doors." ie 


"Federalsburg, Md., Aug. 14. John Henry 
Lake, a Hurlock Negro, was killed and Frank 
Dickerson wounded, perhaps fatally, at a celebra- 
tion by Negroes last night." " 

"Gettysburg, Pa., Sept. n. Clara Brown, of 
Baltimore, colored, was shot in a brawl here in 
the course of an excursion and picnic. Her condi- 
tion is critical. Three other persons were also 
injured. The picnickers had a gay frolic. It is 

"Baltimore Weekly Herald, July 8, 1909. 
"Baltimore Sun, Aug. 15, 1914. 


charged that fifty of them attacked a policeman, 
and one of them robbed Robert King of Hunters- 
town of $35. There were about 7240 excursion- 
ists. Gettysburg has made a protest." 1B 

"Roanoke, Va., March 29. .Drunken Negroes 
took charge of an excursion train between this 
city and Winston-Salem last night and as a conse- 
quence Sidney Wood of Winston-Salem is dead at 
Martinsville, and two-score other Negroes are 
more or less wounded. Knives, razors, and pistols 
played prominent parts in the melee. . . . The 
train was stopped several times by Negroes pulling 
the bell cord, and the train was cut in two several 
times, leaving a number of coaches behind with a 
second section following. . . . The three coaches 
which were cut off were filled with white people. 
. . . When the train reached Bassetts, in Henry 
County, every Negro in two coaches was appar- 
ently in a fight. The screams of the terror-stricken 
women added to the excitement." 19 


' 9 

"Smyrna, Del., Aug. 9. As has been the case 
yearly for a dozen years there was a fatal shoot- 
ing affray at the Negro camp meeting at Friend- 

M Cambridge (Md.) Record, Sept. 12, 1913. 
18 Baltimore Sun, March 30, 1910. 


ship last night. Howard Hollis, a Negro of Clay- 
ton, Del., was shot in both legs during the fight. 
... It is not known who shot Hollis as bullets 
were flying thick and fast during the melee." 20 

"Federalsburg, Md., Sept. 6. Officers are 
scouring lower Caroline County to-day for four 
Negroes who last night shot up a Negro camp- 
meeting at Mount Hope, near this town." 21 

"Deputy Sheriff Bruce C. Dean, yesterday after- 
noon shot and killed a Negro named Smith at what 
is known as Henry's Cross Roads [near Cam- 
bridge, Md., negro] campmeeting. . . . There 
has always been more or less disorder; in fact, it 
is generally known that fights, cutting affrays, and 
a general disregard for the law exists." 22 The 
Negro who was killed shot at the deputy Sheriff 
when he tried to arrest him. 

"Salisbury, Md., Aug. 23. A riot occurred 
last night at the Negro campmeeting, on the west 
side of the county, and Asbury Waters, 19 years 
old, was killed, and Clinton Gosless was shot 
through his jaw-bone and his chin carried away by 
a bullet. 

"Baltimore Sun, Aug. 10, 1915. 
" Ibid., Sept 7, 1915. 
"Cambridge (Md.) Record, Aug. 25, 1913. 


"Just at the height of the services one of the 
local preachers, was raising his hands in prayer, 
a colored woman slipped into the kneeling crowd 
and pulled a pistol from her dress folds and fired 
a bullet into his heart. Waters pitched forward 
and died instantly. . . . Immediately after, Sallie 
Milburn whipped a pistol from her pocket and 
blazed away at Clinton Gosless, the bullet enter- 
ing his jaw. Gosless is in a very serious condition 
with little hope of his recovery." 

Both these accounts were in the same issue of 
the Cambridge (Md.) Record, but the camps 
were in adjoining counties. 

Indeed, Negro camp meetings and bush meet- 
ings had become so numerous, occupied such a 
large part of the Negroes' time during summer, 
caused so much lawlessness among them ; and con- 
sequently so much expense to the whites, that the 
Maryland Legislature in 1916 passed a law evi- 
dently directed against them, which in part is as 
follows : 

"It shall be unlawful for any person, persons, 
association or organization of any kind whatever 
to hold any camp meeting or bush meeting within 
the limits of Talbot, Caroline, Dorchester, Somer- 


set, Kent, and Worcester Counties without first 
making application in writing at least fifteen days 
prior to the date of such camp meeting or bush 
meeting therein. That such application for a per- 
mit as aforesaid, shall be accompanied by a peti- 
tion in writing signed by at least twenty-five tax 
payers, each of whom shall reside within three 
miles of the place where such camp meeting is 
to be held, and each petition shall have annexed 
thereto as a part thereof an affidavit to the effect 
that each of the said petitioners are bona fide tax 
payers and of their residences within three miles 
of said place of such proposed meeting. And 
whenever the County Commissioners of any of the 
respective counties shall have any reasonable 
grounds that any lawlessness or disorder will oc- 
cur, at said camp meeting or bush meeting, they 
shall refuse to grant such permit, and if, after is- 
suing any permit to hold any camp meeting or 
bush meeting there shall be lawlessness or disorder 
reported to said County Commissioners, it shall 
be the duty of said officials to investigate or have 
investigated by the Sheriff or other officer of said 
county, the matter, and upon proof of said law- 
lessness or disorder they shall forthwith revoke 
said permit and it shall be the duty of the Sheriff, 
or other officer of the respective Counties to en- 
force the provisions of this act." 


In about the same spirit and for the same pur- 
pose, the reduction of Negro crime, a few years 
ago, the city of Mobile, Alabama, passed an ordi- 
nance, an account of which is taken from a Balti- 
more periodical: 23 

"The police department of Mobile, Ala., has 
established a curfew law for Negroes. Com- 
mencing on the night of July 21, the law provides 
that all Negroes must be in bed at their homes by 
ten o'clock or be subject to arrest. Any caught 
wandering at large after that hour will be locked 
up. This action is taken because there is said to 
be an epidemic of hold-ups perpetrated by the Ne- 
groes. If such a law was enforced in Baltimore 
it would decrease the alley fights ninety-five per 


In connection with Negro criminality it seems 
pertinent to say something of Negro immorality. 
Two of the Negro's most prominent character- 
istics are the utter lack of chastity and complete 
ignorance of veracity. 

The Negro's sexual laxity, considered so im- 
moral or even criminal in the white man's civil- 
ization, may have been all but a virtue in the 

* Methodist Protestant, July 28, 1909. 


habitat of his origin. There nature developed in 
him intense sexual passions to offset his high death 
rate. Then, too, the economic influences which 
fostered a family life among other peoples were 
mostly lacking in tropical Africa as nature pro- 
vided abundantly without effort on the part of 

Although the regulations adopted by masters 
for the control of the Negroes during slavery times 
may have served as a check upon their natural 
sexual propensities, however, since emancipation 
they have been under no such restraint and as a 
consequence they have possibly almost reverted to 
what must have been their primitive promiscuity. 
Huffman says that in 1894 more than one-fourth 
of the colored births in the city of Washington 
were illegitimate. Many prominent Negroes ad- 
mit that above ninety per cent of both sexes are 
unchaste. A negro may be a pillar in the church 
and at the same time the father of a dozen ille- 
gitimate children by as many mothers. 

Another Negro failing is lying. One can be- 
lieve neither layman nor minister, neither criminal 
nor saint among them. One may occasionally find 
a truthful Negro, just as he may find a virtuous 
or an honest one. Undoubtedly both honest and 
truthful was the Negro, an elder in the church, 
who refused to partake of the Lord's Supper, be- 


cause, as he said, the flour the bread was made of 
had been stolen. 

Some benevolently-inclined men and many re- 
ligious zealots thought that religion and educa- 
tion was the "Open Sesame" by means of which 
the "salvation" of the Negro was to come. So 
they sent him money to build churches and to 
found great schools. Many, however, are now 
finding that though the Negro may have religion 
he has no morality; and that too often his educa- 
tion makes him unwilling to do what he can do 
and wish to do that for which he is unfitted or for 
which there is no demand. At present who can 
tell whether he is going forward or backward. 
Some one has said that there is going on side by 
side in the Negro people a minimum of progress 
with a maximum of regress. 

However, the Negro takes great pride in his 
church, and in his way is intensely religious. The 
late Booker T. Washington said: 

"Of these millions of black people there is only 
a very small percentage that does not have formal 
or informal connection with some church." 

It is, indeed, likely that more than one-half of 
the male Negro adults are actual members of 
church, while not more than one in four or five 


white male adults have such connection. Notwith- 
standing such a showing, religion does not seem to 
have any controlling influence over the life and 
character of the Negro. 

Nevertheless, the Negro enjoys his religion, 
for he is an emotional animal. It is the emo- 
tional element in religion that appeals to him and 
makes his face to shine. The promise of never- 
ending pleasure in a world to come may be but 
faintly comprehended by him, but the fear of a 
far off punishment deters him but little from crime. 
He is the optimist of the human race, and lives in 
the eternal present. He has no sorrows from the 
past, and no care except for the immediate future. 
He keeps without effort or intention two injunc- 
tions of Scripture: "Visit the sick," and "have 
no care for to-morrow." 

He goes to camp meetings or revivals, sings, ' * 
prays, and shouts until the small hours of the 
night. He may think he thus pays the Lord His 
due, even though the next day, if he works at all, 
he sleeps on the plow-handle, or with half-closed 
eyes cuts up the tobacco or. the cotton. 

However, he may be free from the painful ne- 
cessity to work the next day, if his wife or mother 
should have just returned from a white neighbor 
with an "apronful," even if he did not visit some 


tempting smoke-house or hen-roost on the way 
home from his religious revelry. 

How can Negro criminality and immorality be 
lessened? The answer is not easy, and what fol- 
lows is merely suggestive. Up to the present, 
what little the Negro has accomplished, in most 
part has been due to the white blood he has re- 
ceived, or to white direction and sympathy. The 
Negro is woefully lacking in initiative and per- 
sistence. He would be greatly benefited by some 
sort of probationary oversight. If the Filipinos 
are not fit for self-government collectively, much 
less the Negro individually. A great part of them 
are no more fit to profit by their freedom than 
so many children. Nothing so promotes health 
of body and strength of character as regular and 
persistent industry. To the Negro should be 
preached the "gospel of salvation" through work. 
Somehow get him to work six days in the week, 
instead of working two and loafing four, as many 
now do. Industrial schools such as Hampton and 
Tuskegee meet a great need but they touch but 
few. " 

If the States had the power to train or even to 
enforce habits of industry and thrift upon the 
shiftless, idle, and vicious Negroes it would un- 
doubtedly result in measureless benefit to both 
white and black. Liberty should not be made 


a "fetish." If the Negro has rights that should 
not be abridged, so have the white people rights 
and lives that should not be endangered. The 
law-abiding many have the right to protection 
from the criminal few actual or incipient. With 
the adoption of some such scheme the Negro might 
gradually cease to be a menace to the white race. 
Again, so often the Negro leaders of the Negro 
race are merely blind leaders of the blind, en- 
tirely lacking in breadth of view, often discour- 
aging in their race what they should encourage 
and encouraging what they should discourage as 
the following quotation may indicate: 

' 'Make lynching a Federal crime, and stop 
turning the murderers over to local authorities 
who are in sympathy with them,' demanded Dr. 
W. T. Vernon, of Memphis, Tenn., before 15,- 
ooo Negroes, who were celebrating the twenty- 
fifth quadrennial Conference of the African M. E. 
Church in Convention Hall, Broad street and Al- 
legheny Avenue, yesterday." 24 

Such talk as this serves to promote Negro 
crime. If instead of Negro leaders writing ar- 
ticles for magazines and Negro papers, in ser- 
mons in Negro churches, and in addresses before 

"Philadelphia Record, May 8, 1916. 


Negro conventions denouncing the whites for pro- 
tecting themselves against Negro crime in their 
own way, could realize that it is not so much the 
black skin as what sort of man the black skin 
covers, that counts, would demonstrate to their 
black brothers that they themselves are the sin- 
ners rather than the sinned against, that they are 
the transgressors rather than otherwise, they 
might accomplish much toward lessening Negro 
crime. If such leaders would use their influence 
to the utmost to make their race as law-abiding 
as the whites, and should bring it about, it is 
hardly likely that then they would need to com- 
plain that their race is imposed upon. But if they 
were, at least, there would be more force in their 
complaint. But so long as the Negro race com- 
mits its present amount of crime, the complaint 
against unfair treatment is more than childish. 



IT is hardly to be questioned that since the Civil 
War the white man and the Negro have been 
drawing farther and farther apart. Religious 
teachers, political adventurers, and fortune hunt- 
ers gave the first great impetus to the movement. 
The teachers, however, misguided, may have been 
sincere in their efforts to benefit the Negro ; but the 
carpet-baggers had in mind only personal aggran- 

This political separation of the Negroes from 
the Southern whites was the entering wedge that 
split asunder the ties that had bound the two races 
together. Otherwise the Negroes might have di- 
vided with the whites between two or more politi- 
cal parties. This would have resulted greatly to 
their advantage for each party would have bid 
for their vote. 

Upon the passing of the carpet-bag administra- 
tions, however, the Negroes lost most of their po- 
litical importance. Since then it has been further 



reduced until it is now almost a negligible quan- 

During the Reconstruction period, the attitude 
of the Negroes served to alienate their former 
masters, who undoubtedly would have otherwise 
been their best friends. Between most of the Ne- 
groes and the poor whites of the South, there had 
always existed a feeling of mutual dislike if not 
contempt. After the War great numbers of the 
latter secured wealth and influence. Their dislike 
of the Negro, however, has increased rather than 

Thus, the Negroes began to feel the lack of 
that sympathy, consideration, and direction from 
the whites to which they had been accustomed. 
Therefore, whether consciously or unconsciously, 
they turned to leaders of their own color more 
readily, and this has gradually developed a feeling 
of race solidarity. However, this should not be 
an unmixed evil. 

Again, in many parts of the South, the indus- 
trial development of the past thirty years has fur- 
thered segregation in that section by drawing the 
whites to the towns and cities. But Negroes have 
also turned to the cities in great numbers notwith- 
standing the fact that the industrial enterprises of 
the cities usually hold out but little if any induce- 
ments to such migration. This has given rise to 


the agitation for the segregation of the races in 
the cities whether voluntary or by legal enactment. 
While this is more pronounced in the South it has 
also spread to the North and West. 

One of the most noteworthy examples of volun- 
tary segregation is to be found in New York City: 

"In one district of New York City a Negro 
population equal in numbers to the inhabitants of 
Dallas, Texas, or Springfield, Mass., lives, works, 
and pursues its ideals almost as a separate entity 
from the great surrounding metropolis. Here the 
Negro merchants ply their trade; Negro profes- 
sional men follow their various vocations; their 
children are educated; the poor, sick, and the or- 
phan of their race is cared for; churches, news- 
papers, and books flourish heedless of those out- 
side this Negro community who resent its presence 
in a white city." * 

Indeed, in many parts of the country the Ne- 
groes have separated themselves from the whites 
by founding small communities of their own. In 
almost any state, villages and towns populated 
and governed almost exclusively by Negroes may 
be found. A few of the more important are: 
Buxton, Iowa, 1000 whites and 4000 Negroes; 

1 The Outlook, Dec. 23, 1914. 


Brooklyn, Illinois, 1600 Negroes; Balor, Okla- 
homa, 3000; Plateau, Alabama, 1500; Mound 
Bayou, Mississippi, yoo. 2 

In addition, there are almost an unlimited num- 
ber of what may be termed Negro settlements 
scattered over the country. Such is Petersburg, 
on a railroad two miles from Hurlock, Maryland, 
which may serve as an example. It consists of 
about twenty-five houses and lots or little farms, 
altogether embracing about one hundred acres. 
These are mostly owned by the Negroes who live 
on them. They bought these little tracts several 
years ago when the land was considered almost 
worthless as it was so sandy and poor. The men 
till their lots and occasionally work by the day 
for some of the surrounding white farmers. In 
season, the women and children and some of the 
men as well go elsewhere to pick berries. In the 
late summer all have employment at home for 
about two months furnished by a white cannery, 
near. Altogether it seems to be a very contented 
community. Each Negro is his own boss and can 
work when it suits him and stop when he pleases. 
To make such a living as satisfies him he need 
work scarcely half of his time. This just suits 
Negro inclinations and consequently Petersburg 
is a little paradise for the Negro. 

""Negro Year Book," 1914-1915. 


However, the segregation of the Negro is not 
yet universal. In some towns and cities as well 
both North and South they are more or less scat- 
tered. In the City of Washington they are found 
practically everywhere. In most cities they oc- 
cupy the most undesirable parts such as any low 
muddy places or narrow alleys. In some small 
cities of the South, while there may be a well de- 
fined Negro section, nearly every well-to-do fam- 
ily has a Negro servant family in the back yard. 
La Grange, Georgia, is an example. 

But in the greater number of towns and cities 
the Negro section and the white section have been 
clearly defined for years. Cambridge, Maryland, 
a city of about 5000 whites and 2000 Ne- 
groes, is of that sort. All the Negroes live in 
the Southwest section except two or three fami- 
lies that live in a kind of alley near the bridge 
which connects East Cambridge with the main 
part of the city. One sees but few Negroes on 
any white street, not even on the main business 
street except Saturdays when they do their shop- 
ping. But on the street just west of the main 
business street and parallel with it, the business 
street of the Negro section, only a few whites are 
ever to be seen but it is always black with Negroes. 
Here are Negro grocery stores, a drug store, bar- 
ber shops, theater, schools, and churches. Very 


few mulattoes are in evidence for the Negroes are 
nearly all of pure blood. One never hears of any 
serious trouble between the Negroes and whites 
of Cambridge for they live in comparative har- 
mony with one another. At East New Market in 
the same county, a railroad separates the white 
from the Negro section of the town, while at 
Vienna, eleven miles distant, the Negro section is 
several hundred yards from the white part of the 

Although Negroes constitute about one-third 
of the population of the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land, they have not become sufficiently numerous 
as farmers as to cause much injury to farm land 
or to farming interests, whether by careless and 
indifferent farming or by making the country dis- 
tricts undesirable to white people as places of 
residence. Most of the Negroes in the country 
districts are used by the white farmers as farm 
hands. Negroes are seldom able to rent the better 
grade farms while those owned by them are usual- 
ly small and poor. As a consequence most of the 
land on the Eastern Shore is in a high state of 
cultivation and the farmers prosperous and con- 

In most parts of the farther South, however,, 
except Texas and Oklahoma, and the Piedmont 
and mountain sections, the whites have allowed the 


Negroes to gain such a foothold in the country 
districts that they are now the greatest obstacles to 
agricultural progress. The South is just begin- 
ning to realize the true condition of things. 

Indeed, already in North Carolina an agita- 
tion has begun for the segregation of the Negro 
in the rural districts. If this could be accom- 
plished in all parts of the South it would be a 
wonderful boon to that section. Not only would 
it to a great extent free the white women from 
fear of attack by Negroes but this would serve 
to attract to the South thrifty and ambitious farm- 
ers from other parts of the country. A more satis- 
factory social life could be developed in the rural 
districts. Adequate schools and churches could 
better be maintained, not only for the white race 
but for the Negroes as well. As a consequence 
both races would be benefited. 

With the exception of the establishment in the 
South of separate schools for the whites and the 
Negroes, only in comparatively recent years has 
segregation been brought about by law. More 
than twenty years ago, however, a few Southern 
States had laws providing for segregation in rail- 
road travel and now almost every Southern State 
has such a law. In some, Maryland for example, 
the law also applies to passenger steamboats. A 
certain section of the boat is given to the Negroes. 


Both races have now become so accustomed to 
these laws that they are generally taken as a mat- 
ter of course. 

Lately many Southern cities have passed ordi- 
nances extending the principle of segregation in 
travel, to street cars. Mobile, Alabama, how- 
ever, as early as 1902 had such an ordinance in 
force. As it was one of the first, and but slightly 
different from those in force in other cities, the 
main part is quoted here, as follows: 

"All persons or corporations, operating street 
railroads in the city of Mobile or within its police 
jurisdiction shall provide seats for the white peo- 
ple and Negroes when there are white people and 
Negroes on the same car by requiring the conduc- 
tor or other employe in charge of the car or cars 
to assign to passengers to seats in all the cars, or 
when the car is divided into two compartments in 
each compartment, in such manner as to separate 
the white people from the Negroes, by seating 
the white people in the front seats and the Ne- 
groes in the rear as they enter the car, but in the 
event such order of seating might cause inconveni- 
ence to those who are already properly seated, the 
conductor or other employee, in charge of the car, 
may use his discretion in seating passengers, but 
in such manner that no white person and Negro 


must be placed, or seated, in the same section, or 
compartment arranged for two passengers: Pro- 
vided, That Negro nurses having in charge white 
children, or sick or infirm white persons, may be 
assigned to seats among the white people." 8 

The conductor is also given the authority of 
police officer to enforce the law. 

The form of segregation which is receiving most 
attention in the South at present, however, is the 
effort of various cities, great and small, to pro- 
vide by law, for (as nearly as possible) distinct 
residential sections for the two races. This ques- 
tion was first agitated in Baltimore 'in 1809. A 
segregation law was passed but it was soon pro- 
nounced invalid by the courts. In 1911, another 
such ordinance was put in force but it, too, was 
declared void, first by the Criminal Court of Balti- 
more, and later by the Maryland Court of Ap- 
peals. The latter Court, however, maintained 
that the city has the right to pass a segregation 
law. I quote the following words of the court: 

"This Court is of the opinion that the Mayor 
and City Council of Baltimore may, in the exer- 
cise of its police power, validly pass an ordinance 
for the segregation of the white and colored races 

'Code of Mobile, 1907, p. 330. 


without conflicting with the Constitution of the 
United States or of the State of Maryland." 4 

Very soon after this, another ordinance was 
passed. It has now been in operation about four 
years ( 1917) . However, the Maryland Court of 
Appeals is holding a case sub curia, awaiting a de- 
cision of the United States Supreme Court in a 
case testing the validity of the segregation law of 
Louisville. 4a 

In 1912 the Virginia Legislature enacted a law 
for the purpose, it seems, of encouraging the cities 
and towns of that State to segregate the whites 
and the Negroes. Richmond, however, had al- 
ready passed a segregation ordinance in 1911. It 
is as follows: 

"That it shall be unlawful for any white per- 
son to occupy as a residence or to establish and 
maintain as a place of public assembly, any house 
upon any street or alley between two adjacent 
streets in which a greater number of houses are 
occupied as residences by colored people than are 
occupied as residences by white people. 

"That it shall be unlawful for any colored per- 
son to occupy as a residence or to establish and 
maintain as a place of public assembly any house 

* Baltimore Sun, Aug. 6, 1913. 

* a Found void by U. S. Supreme Court, Nov. 5, 1917. 


upon any street or alley between two adjacent 
streets on which a greater number of houses are 
occupied as residences by white people than are 
occupied as residences by colored people. 

"That no person shall construct or locate on 
any block or square on which there is at that time 
no residence any house or other building intended 
to be used as a residence without declaring in his 
application for a permit to build whether the house 
or building so to be constructed is designed to be 
occupied by white or colored people, and the Build- 
ing Inspector of the city of Richmond shall not is- 
sue any permit in such case unless the applicant 
complies with the provisions of this section. 

"That nothing in this ordinance shall affect the 
location of residences made previous to the ap- 
proval of this ordinance, and nothing herein shall 
be so construed as to prevent the occupation of 
residences by white or colored servants or em- 
ployes on the square or block on which they are 
so employed. 

"Every person, either by himself or through his 
agent, violating, or any agent for another violating 
any one or more of the provisions of this ordinance 
shall be liable to a fine of not less than $100 nor 
more than $200, recoverable before the police jus- 
tice of the city of Richmond, and, in the discre- 
tion of the police justice, such person may, in addi- 


tion thereto, be confined in the city jail not less 
than 30 nor more than 90 days." 5 

Some of the principal reasons for the demand 
for the segregation of the two races in towns and 
cities are given in the Preamble to the Virginia law 
of 1912 as follows: 

"Whereas the preservation of the public mor- 
als, public health, and public order, in the cities 
and towns of this Commonwealth is endangered 
by the residence of white and colored people in 
close proximity to one another: therefore, be it 
enacted by the General Assembly of Virginia," 

The effect upon public order of the "close 
proximity" of the two races may best be shown 
by the following quotations : 

"Having occasion to ride on the Guilford Ave- 
nue car last week, going down town, there were 10 
or 12 Negro men in their dirty working clothes. 
On one seat there were two of them ; the other 8 
or 10 had each of them a separate bench. Refined 
handsomely dressed women entering the car had 
to stand or sit beside one of these dirty Negroes. 

' Baltimore Sun, Aug. 8, 1913. 


I am not an enemy to the race. I believe they 
should have as good accommodations as we have, 
but they should be to themselves." 6 

"I prefer rubbing elbows with them (Negro 
guano factory laborers) to riding with the so- 
called respectable Negroes on the Preston Street 
and other cross-town lines. On the Preston street 
line in particular conditions have become so un- 
bearable that the writer, who formerly used this 
line to reach his place of business, has been obliged 
to adopt a more circuitous route, which takes fully 
twice as long. 

"On this line respectable white people and white 
women especially, are subjected to every species 
of affront and insult, which they cannot resent 
without risk of being drawn into a dispute, in 
which no decent person cares to be involved. The 
Negroes realize this and it emboldens them still 
further." 7 

"Residents in the 1300 block, Myrtle Avenue 
were greatly excited yesterday by a colored family 
moving into 1334 during the morning. The block 
is occupied by white people and this is the first in- 
trusion by Negroes." 8 

"Letter to Baltimore Sun, March n, 1914. 

T Ibid., Aug. 1 8, 1913. 

9 Baltimore Sun, Aug. 22, 1913. 


"Angered because a colored family had moved 
into house No. 128 Patapsco Avenue, a crowd of 
about 100 residents of Pimplico gathered before 
the dwelling last night and battered it with sticks 
and stones until every window pane was smashed, 
valuable chandeliers demolished and plaster 
knocked in great clouds from the walls." 9 

"About 150 determined white men gathered 
early yesterday evening at a house on Mattfeld 
Avenue, near Falls road, and camped on the 
grounds until a Negro family of two men and 
three women and two children living in the house 
left. . . . After the Negroes had found a place 
the men scattered. . . . No violence or cruelty 
was meant toward the Negro family, but that the 
neighborhood was determined to show that it was 
white and meant to stay white." 10 

Indeed, objections are often made to the loca- 
tion of Negro churches, schools or Y. M. C. A.'s 
in or near white neighborhoods. The following 
newspaper headings may be sufficient to indicate 
the situation : 

"Relay [Md.] Objects to Negro College," " 
"Mount Washington Up in Arms Over the Plan 

9 Baltimore American, Sept. 21, 1911. 

10 Baltimore Sun, May 19, 1916. 
u Ibid., January 13, 1914. 


to Locate Morgan College [Negro] There," 12 
"Lafayette Square Protests Against Putting a 
Colored School On Its Borders." 18 

Nor is this attitude toward the Negro confined 
to the South. If the North had as many Negroes 
in proportion to its population as the South, the 
feeling there would be just as acute. The follow- 
ing quotations so indicate : 

"Boston, March 23. Refusing to associate 
with Dr. Melissa Thompson, a Negress of North 
Carolina, who has been appointed a physician in 
the maternity department of the New England 
Hospital for Women and Children in Roxbury, 
five young white women doctors sent in their resig- 
nation." 14 

"Boston, Sept. 8. Here where years ago a 
mob of exclusive Back Bay residents stormed the 
old courthouse to free a Negro from his Southern 
master, descendants of the Back Bay rescuers to- 
day are fighting against serving as election super- 
visors with a Negro, whose appointment became 
known Wednesday." 1B 

"Baltimore Sun, August 26, 1913. 
" Ibid., Aug. 14, 1915. 
" Ibid., March 24, 1911. 
"Baltimore American, Sept. 9, 1911. 


"Ithaca, N. Y., March 28. The petition of 
more than 200 women in Cornell University 
against the admission of [Negro] women into the 
only dormitory in the University has been for- 
warded to President Schurman." 16 

"New York, July 2. Twenty teachers, about 
half the staff at Public School No. 125, in Wooster 
Street, Manhattan have applied for transfers, 
owing to the assignment by the Board of Educa- 
tion of William L. Burkley (mulatto) as head of 
the school." 17 

"Burlington, Vermont, dislikes the idea of hav- 
ing the Tenth Cavalry at Fort Ethan Allen. The 
Tenth happens to be a colored regiment and the 
prospect of having 1200 Negro soldiers within 
three miles of the city is greatly exciting many of 
the people of Burlington." 18 

"Akron, Ohio, August 13. A serious race riot 
may take place if notices posted on the homes of 
North Side Negroes last night by members of a 
citizens' 'Vigilance league' in that section of the 
city, who have warned the Negroes that unless 

16 Washington Times, March, 28, 1911. 

"Baltimore Sun, July 3, 1909. 

" Democrat and News, Cambridge, Md., Sept. 3, 1909. 


they sell their property and leave that section of 
the city, they will be forcibly evicted from their 
homes, which are also threatened with destruction. 

"Members of the 'Vigilance league' declare to- 
day that the Negroes are practicing a form of 
.blackmail by buying property in the fashionable 
residence district of North Hill, which they oc- 
cupy until their white neighbors pay an exorbitant 
price for their property to get rid of them. 

"They say several instances of this kind have 
been recorded recently and feeling against the Ne- 
groes reached a high pitch at a secret meeting held 
last night. The public have taken every precau- 
tion to guard against a serious outbreak. 

"The Negroes have been given one week in 
which to sell their property and leave that section 
of the city by the 'Vigilance league.' " 19 

"Bellville, 111., Oct. 7. Ten of the 13 Negroes 
who have been on trial here for a week, charged 
with the murder of Detective Samuel Coppedge 
on the morning of July 2, which precipitated the 
East St. Louis, 111., race riots were convicted to- 
day and sentenced to 14 years in the penitentiary. 
Three were acquitted." 20 

19 Baltimore American, Aug. 14, 1913. 
"The Philadelphia Record, Oct. 8, 1917. 


"York, Pa., Aug. 20. Dr. George W. Bowles, 
a Negro physician, has started a movement here 
for the segregation of his race. Bowles believes 
that Negroes would be better taken care of if in 
one part of the town. Now the blacks are housed 
in the alleys and few are permitted to rent houses 
on the main streets." 21 

A few such Negro leaders as Dr. Bowles, just 
mentioned, seem to appreciate the advantages of 
segregation for the Negro, and for both races. 
Others, however, object to segregation because to 
their minds, it is a denial of social equality with 
the white race, or that they are deprived of the 
best living conditions. If the Negro had the 
proper race pride he would welcome the oppor- 
tunity to live among his own race. He would de- 
light in the companionship of those of his kind. 
Among the Negroes would develop grades of so- 
ciety as among white people. Indeed, already in 
Baltimore Druid Hill Avenue and other streets 
have become a sort of aristocratic section for the 
Negroes. Those who have money have the op- 
portunity to live among their own race in the best 
manner possible. 

Other races are so proud of their traditional 
grandeur or present attainments as to claim su- 

* Baltimore Sun, Aug. 21, 1913. 


periority and exclusiveness. But the Negro has 
such little race pride that were it possible every 
Negro man would have a white wife and every 
Negro woman a white husband. Many Negro 
leaders are so lacking in race esteem as to seize 
every opportunity to force themselves into the 
society of other races. And although they possess 
a strong sense of their rights they are usually 
found unmindful of attendant obligations. 

The great mass of Negroes, however, soon ac- 
commodate themselves to segregation regulations, 
whether for schools, railways, or for the residen- 
tial sections of cities and seem to care but little 
about the question of equality. It is only when 
stirred up by the unwise of their own race, or by 
some sentimental, if well-meaning, but shallow- 
thinking whites, who have lived far removed from 
association with Negroes, that they manifest much 
interest in such matters. 

In association among races, unless there is some 
strong cementing influence to counteract it, fric- 
tion is likely to occur between them in proportion 
to racial difference. And so long as racial antip- 
athy shall exist and practical minded men see 
no signs of an end of it in the near future regu- 
lations for the promotion of harmony should be 
encouraged by both whites and blacks. 

It would be almost as reasonable to expect an 


idiot and a genius to find a common ground of 
association as to expect it of a white man and a 
Negro. For in both races there is a failure to 
recognize that consciousness of kind which is the 
basis of all pleasant association. Indeed, even 
the subdivisions of the white race show a strong 
preference each for those of his own division. An 
Italian prefers to associate with an Italian; a Ger- 
man, with Germans; and a Jew, with Jews. 

So, in the last analysis, the most potent reason 
for the segregation of the whites and the Negroes 
is their unlikeness. For they are antipodal in the 
extreme: the nadir and zenith of peoples. This 
dissimilarity cannot be removed by soap and 
water, time, charity, education, or culture. After 
all these it will yet remain. 

Another reason for segregation is the criminal- 
ity and immorality of the Negro race. Even if it 
would benefit a few Negroes or satisfy their van- 
ity to travel with whites or to live on the same 
street with them is little reason why the comfort, 
property values, health and morals of the whites 
should be endangered thereby. The better ele- 
ments of society have rights as well as the worst 
and the majority should receive consideration as 
well as the minority. It is in strict accord with 
sound ethical principles that laws should aim to 
level up rather than to level down. 


Again, the susceptibility of the Negro to dis- 
ease is another very potent reason for segrega- 
tion laws. The Negro's manner of living since 
his emancipation irregular in every way, some- 
times half-starved together with their immoral 
habits, have so weakened the constitutions of a 
great part of them that they easily become victims 
to disease. 

According to the Washington Post (March 3, 
1917) of 20,000 Negroes who had lately arrived 
in Philadelphia from the South 1000 were ill with 
pneumonia and tuberculosis, of whom 700 were 
said to be dying. 

The "Negro Year Book" for 1914-15 makes 
the statement that 450,000 Negroes in the South 
are seriously ill all the time, and that 600,000 of 
the present Negro population will die of tuber- 
culosis. When one recalls that thirty-five years 
ago tuberculosis among Negroes was scarcely 
heard of, he may the better appreciate the full 
force of the above statement in regard to tuber- 
culosis among Negroes. 

In a letter calling a conference in Baltimore to 
consider better housing conditions for the Negro, 
Mayor Preston said : 

"The insanitary housing of many of our color* 
ed people and the congestion within the area in 


which they reside are developing breeding for dis- 
ease. The condition is a serious menace to the 
general health of the city. It threatens to become 
in the future a matter of such gravity as to chal- 
lenge the thoughtful consideration of our entire 
community. . . . 

"The high death rate in Baltimore is occa- 
sioned by the high mortality among the colored 
people. The death rate from tuberculosis alone 
is three and a half colored to one white." 22 

The Health Department, in a bulletin issued 
about the same time, showed that the death-rate 
per thousand of the Negro population of Balti- 
more was 33.96, while that of the white popula- 
tion was but 16.91. What is true of Baltimore is 
more or less true elsewhere. 

It is needless to consider other reasons for 
segregation laws, the three given; viz., to lessen 
friction, to check criminality and immorality, and 
to prevent the spread of disease, are sufficient war- 
rant for segregation laws of whatever kind. 

"Baltimore Sun, Feb. 20, 1917. 



THE statement sometimes made that in 1865 
the Negro was a landless and penniless race is far 
from the truth. Some slaves had property that 
they had secured through opportunities given them 
by their owners. No doubt free Negroes secured 
at least a small share of the public domain. Many 
slaves upon being given freedom by benevolent 
masters, were also given money or property at the 
same time. 

Cases of this sort were frequent during slavery 
times. Several such instances are given in the 
Staunton (Va.) Democrat during 1846-1848. 
Such cases as the following were not uncommon : 

"A Negro man named Lerr; age about 35 
years; a slave for life $700." "A negro man 
named Jacob; age about 24; a slave from life 
$600." l 

1 Baltimore Sun, Dec. 18, 1909. 


These were two items in an inventory of the 
estate Phillip B. Saddler returned to the Orphans' 
Court of Baltimore in 1860. 

Even The Liberator mentions some cases of 
the kind. For example: 

A man in Kentucky willed to his slaves, whom 
he made free, horses, wagons, farming imple- 
ments, and $4,000. Another, also in Kentucky, 
freed a Negro family of four, purchased an ex- 
cellent farm for them, paying fifty dollars an acre, 
and in addition gave them a wagon, a pair of 
mules and a quantity of provisions. These are 
given merely as examples of what was constantly 
taking place. 2 

Indeed, there were many rich free Negroes in 
the South at the time of the Civil War. Although 
there is abundant evidence that the free Negroes, 
as a rule, were an indolent, thriftless, and even 
vicious class, some of them, no doubt on account 
of the reinforcement of white blood in their veins, 
were industrious and prosperous. 

At Charleston, S. C., alone in 1860, there were 
355 free Negroes who paid taxes. 8 Of these 226 
owned real estate valued at $1,000 or more, each. 

" Liberator, Jan. 20, 1854, and Nov. 9, 1860. 
'Ibid., May n, 1860; E. Collins, "Memories of the South- 
ern States," p. 44. 

r. J 


Some of them had $10,000 to $40,000 worth of 
property. Altogether they had almost $ i ,000,000 

In Louisiana also, as might be expected, there 
were many wealthy free Negroes. Most of these 
were descended from the French and the Spanish 
planters and their Negro slaves. One free Ne- 
gro family of Louisiana was said to be the richest 
Negro family in the United States before the War, 
having property valued at several hundred thou- 
sand dollars. 4 Frederick Law Olmsted, who trav- 
eled through the State about 1855, was told that 
some of the free Negroes owned property worth 
$400,000 or $500,000, which included some of 
the best sugar and cotton plantations. Indeed, all 
over the country might have been found free Ne- 
groes with more or less property. The greater 
part of it, no doubt, had been given them by white 
masters or white relatives. 

In reference to the amount of property held by 
Negroes at the time of the Civil War, William H. 
Thomas, a Negro writer, says: 

"We have no trustworthy data by which to 
measure the wealth of those residing in the North, 
though it is known to have been considerable; 

* Liberator, March 18, 1859. Also, Olmsted, "Seaboard Slave 
States," pp. 633-640. 


but in the South, where separate racial statistics 
were kept, the value of property owned by free 
Negroes was between $35,000,000 and $40,000,- 

In 1860, there were in the neighborhood of 
250,000 free Negroes in the South and around 
225,000 in the North. Then, if the free Negroes 
of the South had nearly $40,000,000 it would 
seem a fair estimate that in both sections the free 
Negroes had at least $60,000,000. Taking this 
for granted, as money at six per cent compounded, 
annually, doubles every twelve and one-half years, 
the $60,000,000 at interest until the present 
(1917) would have amounted to about $960,- 
000,000. If the 10,000,000 Negroes of the coun- 
try at present had as large amount of property in 
proportion, as the less than 500,000 free Negroes 
of 1860, they would be worth more than $1,200,- 

However, in 1903, it was estimated by a com- 
mittee of the American Economic Association that 
all the taxable property in the United States own- 
ed by Negroes in 1900 amounted to only $300,- 
000,000. The $60,000,000 at six per cent would 
have amounted to about $400,000,000 by that 

In 1913, in an address before the Negro Busi- 


ness League which met in Philadelphia, Booker 
T. Washington said that Negroes pay taxes on 
$700,000,000 worth of property. Many other 
students of the Negro question both black and 
white have placed about the same estimate upon 
Negro holdings. Even if true, the amount would 
be about $200,000,000 less than the $60,000,000 
at interest to the same time. 

Now, assuming that Negroes actually owned 
$700,000,000 worth of property in 1913, what 
does it signify? The value of all property in the 
United States is now estimated at almost 
$250,000,000,000. Now, suppose that it was 
$210,000,000,000 in 1913, this would be just 
three hundred times the estimated value of Negro 
property at the time. In other words, 10,000,000 
negroes owned one three-hundredth as much as 
90,000,000 whites. Thus one white man on an 
average would have as much as thirty-two Ne-i 

Even were it true that the Negro race began 
with nothing after the War, likely thousands of 
white men who became millionaires had just such 
a start. One such white man, especially, is, no 
doubt, worth as much as the 10,000,000 Negroes 
claim to be, even though he has given to charity 
almost half as much more. 

Indeed, the $700,000,000 in question is but lit- 


tie more than two-thirds as much as the whites in 
the United States, according to the Chicago Trib- 
une,* gave to charity during 1916. Again, the 
$700,000,000 lacks nearly $200,000,000 of being 
equal to the taxable basis of Baltimore. It would 
be difficult to secure statistics in reference to the 
matter, but there could be little doubt that the 
first immigrants to the United States after the 
Civil War, including the descendents of such to 
the number of 10,000,000, immigrants who 
came with practically nothing, no money in the ma- 
jority of instances and ignorant, now are worth 
many times $700,000,000. 

The $700,000,000 may also be considered from 
another point of view : The "Negro Year Book," 
1913 credits the Negro with $700,000,000 worth 
of property and speaks glowingly about the in- 
crease of the previous ten years. The statement is 
made that farm land and buildings owned by the 
Negro increased from $69,639,426 in 1900 to 
$273,506,665 in 1910, and that during the same 
period the total value of Negro farm property, 
including live stock, and implements and ma- 
chinery increased from $177,408,688 to $492,- 

Now, the Census shows that in 1900 Negroes 

"The Chicago Tribune, Dec. 30, 1916, gives a list of gifts to 
charity during 1916 as near $1,000,000,000. 


owned 13,770,801 acres of land entire and 2,205,- 
297 acres in part. If their share of the land owned 
in part were half, then, the Negroes had in pos- 
session 14,873,449 acres. In 1910, they owned 
15,961,506 acres entire and 3,1 14,957 acres in 
part. Allowing them the same share of that held 
in part as for 1900, gives them in 1910, 17,518,- 
984 acres. However, only about two-fifths of 
the land owned by Negroes is arable, the larger 
part being woodland, swamp, rough and stony 
land, much of which is almost valueless. 

According to the "Negro Year Book," Negro 
farm land and buildings increased in value from 
$7.98 an acre in 1900 to $17.40 an acre in 1910.* 
If this is true; the value of the Negro lands and 
buildings in 1900 was $118,690,124 instead of 
$69,639,426; and in 1910, $304,830,032 instead 
of $273,506,665. 

6 According to the census, "The average value of farm prop- 
erty per acre was $27.01 for farms operated by Negroes in 1910 
as compared with $13.08 for 1900, and $47.72 for farms operated 
by whites in 1910." There was no indication whether all land 
or merely arable land is meant. About three-fourths of the 
farms operated by Negroes are rented. Observation convinces 
me that farms owned by Negroes are not more than half so 
valuable an acre on the average as the land rented by them, for 
from necessity they buy the least valuable land. This being 
true, Negro lands in 1900 could not have been worth more than 
$6.00 an acre and about $13.00 in 1910. However, in making 
any calculations as to the value of Negro lands and property, I 
will take the Negro Year Book estimate and apply it to all 
Negro land. 


Again, Negroes operated in 1910, 893,370 
farms while but 241,221 of these were owned or 
partly owned by them. An idea of the value of the 
farm stock on these farms, and the Negroes' lack 
of thrift as well, may be had from a statement 
made before the Negro Conference at Tuskegee 
Institute in 1915 : 

"An investigation has shown that there are 
20,000 farms of Negroes on which there are no 
cattle of any kind; 27,000 on which there are 
no hogs; 200,000 on which no poultry is raised; 
140,000 on which no corn is grown; on 750,000 
farms of Negroes no oats are grown; on 550,000 
farms no sweet potatoes are grown, and on 200,- 
ooo farms of Negroes there are no gardens of 
any sort." 7 

According to the Census, however, on farms 
operated by Negroes, farm implements and ma- 
chinery increased from $18,859,757 in 1900 to 
$34,178,052 by 1910, while live stock increased 
in value from $84,936,215 to $184,896,771. 
Adding to these amounts for 1910 the above sum 
of $304,830,032 for Negro lands and buildings 
a total of $523,904,855 is obtained for 1910 in- 
stead of $492,898,216, which is the Negro Year 

7 Scott and Stowe, "Booker T. Washington," p. 171. 


Book estimate. 8 So here credit may be given the 
Negro for the larger amount. 

Again, according to the Census of 1910, Ne- 
groes owned around 220,000 homes other than 
farm homes. No estimate as to their value is 
given. Although $400 each is undoubtedly a high 
valuation they may be roughly estimated at that. 
This amounts to $88,000,000. Booker T. Wash- 
ington claimed for Negroes just before his death, 
43,000 business interests. 9 The observation of the 
writer is that Negro business interests average 
much less than $1000 each. Indeed, great num- 
bers not more than $100 or $200 each. However, 
if they average $1000 each they amount to $43,- 

By adding the three items: $523,904,855, the 

'The estimate of $7.98 an acre in 1900, and $17.40 an acre in 
1910, according to the "Negro Year Book" mentioned above, is 
undoubtedly too high by at least one-third, but I use it so as to 
give them the advantage rather than otherwise. I know a body 
of 1,300 acres of land in my own county, Dorchester, Md., con- 
sisting of some cleared land, woodland and brushland, which a 
real estate man told me could be bought at five dollars an acre. 
This is such land as the Negro usually buys. Only a short dis- 
tance from the body of land mentioned in this note land is val- 
ued at from twenty-five to one hundred dollars an acre. 

'Among the Negro business interests are 64 banks which are 
often mentioned in Negro speeches. It seems, however, that two 
of them have failed. The total capital of these banks is said to 
be $1,500,000. In striking contrast are the 27,000 white banks 
with $2,162,900,000 capital. Petersburg, Negro settlement in 
Md., mentioned above, has two Negro stores with hardly $100 
worth of goods, each. 


value of Negro farm property; $88,000,000, Ne- 
gro-owned homes other than farm homes; and 
$43,000,000, the value of the Negro business in- 
terests; a grand total of $654,904,855 is obtain- 
ed. Thus it would appear that in 1913 Negroes 
might have had around $700,000,000 worth of 
property in their possession. 

Naturally the next question that comes to mind 
is this: How much does the Negro owe? 

Scarcely without exception the white man is his 
creditor, consequently what the Negro owes is to 
be subtracted from the amount of his possessions. 

According to the Census of 1910, something like 
65,000 Negro farms and 50,000 Negro-owned 
homes have mortgages or similar encumbrances 
against them. It is unlikely that this is true to 
any large extent except as regards the more valua- 
ble Negro properties, If the average farm 
mortgage is $500 and the average home mort- 
gage $300 both together will amount to $47,500,- 
ooo. It is reasonable to suppose also that the 
43,000 business interests owe at least $15,000,000. 

Again, while more than 150,000 Negro farms 
and about as many more Negro homes were re- 
ported by the census as free of encumbrance, never- 
theless, it is not unlikely that they owe a large 
amount of money in notes, bills, etc. Nor need it 
be forgotten that often Negro tenants owe their 


landlords fully as much as the entire value of such 
tenant's personal property. 10 Many Negroes in 
one way or another owe about as much as they 
are worth. This is undoubtedly true of some 
white men, also, but the point is, what Negroes 
owe they owe to white men. A well-to-do farmer 
told the writer a few years ago that he held vari- 
ous kinds of small claims to the amount of more 
than $4000 against the Negroes of his community. 
So, $50,000,000 should not be an excessive esti- 
mate for such Negro liabilities. 

By adding these various items; $47,500,000 
in mortgages and liens against Negro farms and 
homes; $15,000,000 against Negro business in- 
terests; and $50,000,000 against Negro farm own- 
ers, home owners, tenants, etc., gives a grand total 
of $112,500,000. Subtracting this from $654,- 
904,855, which was found to be the value of Ne- 
gro property, leaves $542,404,855 as the value 
of Negro property when debts are paid. 

Again, in regard to the statement above that 
Negro farm property increased in value from 
$222,485,096 in 1900 to $523,904,855 in 1910 
one may need to be reminded that live stock and 
land about doubled in money value during this 

10 I make no mention of the little personal property often not 
taxed many poorer Negroes possess, for the reason that usually 
such Negroes owe retail store keepers even more than their 
little property would sell for. 


time and that by 1913 they had more than doubled. 
This was due mainly to the wonderful increase in 
the output of gold mines thus making money 
cheaper. With this depreciation in the value of 
money the Negro, of course, had nothing to do. 

Except for this, it is unlikely that the $222,- 
485,096 the valuation of Negro farm property 
in 1900 would have increased to more than $265,- 
000,000 in 1910 instead of $523,904,855. For 
during the time the Negro added but 2,645,535 
acres which may be valued at $21,000,000. The 
remaining $23,000,000 being sufficient to allow 
for the improvement of the land, if any, and any 
actual increase of cattle and farm machinery. Now, 
subtracting $265,000,000 from $523,904,855 
leaves $258,904,855 which was due to rise in price 
rather than to effort on the part of the Negro. 
Again, subtracting the $258,904,855 from $542,- 
404,855, the value of all Negro property after 
their debts were paid, leaves $283,500,000 which, 
except for the circumstances over which the Ne- 
gro had no influence, would have been the actual 
wealth of the Negro about 1913, instead of $700,- 
000,000 as claimed. 

Of this amount, no doubt, quite a large part 
was given to individual Negroes by whites for one 
reason or another. I have already adverted to 
the fact that during slavery times Negroes often 


received both money and property from kind- 
hearted masters, along with their freedom. How 
much has been given them since emancipation 
would be hard to determine. Only a short while 
ago, indeed, the New York Tribune mentioned 
a white woman who had left her Negro maid $12,- 
ooo in cash, and other valuables in addition. 11 

Moreover, it has been estimated, that of the 
$28,496,946, the value of plant equipment and 
endowment of Negro private schools, five-sixths 
was contributed by whites and only one-sixth by 
Negroes. 12 During the years 1912 and 1913 white 
people gave nearly $2,000,000 towards Negro 
education. 18 Nor does there appear to be any fall- 
ing off in the white man's gifts to Negro schools. 
In the early part of the year 1917, the Rockefeller 
Foundation appropriated to American schools and 
colleges $575,200, of which $197,000, several 
times their share, was given to Negro schools. 14 
In addition, Federal and State institutions for the 
higher education of the Negro have an income 
about $1,000,000 and property valued at $6,000,- 
ooo. 1B Nor is this all, no doubt, Southern whites 

u New York Tribune, Jan. 25, 1917. 

tt "Negro Education," Government Printing Office, 1917, Vol. 
I, p. 8. 

11 U. S. Educational Report, 1914, Vol. I, pp. 612-13. 

"Baltimore Sun, Jan. 30, 1917. 

""Negro Education," Government Printing Office, 1917, Vol. I, 
p. 12. 


have contributed several times as much to Negro 
education by taxation as has been given otherwise. 
Again, the amount of money and lands that the 
Negro secured during the reconstruction period 
might be an interesting subject for investigation. 
The Negro legislator had the same privilege as 
the white one to sell his vote and influence. Nor 
could there be little doubt that he failed to use 
the opportunity. The following story is credited 
to Senator Z. B. Vance of North Carolina : 18 

A Negro member of the North Carolina legis- 
lature was found chuckling to himself over a pile 
of money which he was counting. "What amuses 
you so?" he was asked. "Well, boss," he re- 
plied, grinning from ear to ear, "I's been sold in 
my life 'leven times, an' fo' de Lord, dis is de fust 
time I eber got de money." 

During the Reconstruction period taxes became 
so oppressive that thousands and thousands of 
farms and plantations were sold at auction for" 
taxes. In some places land became almost value- 
less. It is hardly to be doubted that many Ne- 
groes who got easy money through politics at this 
time failed to use some of it in the purchase of 

"James Ford Rhodes, "History of United States," Vol. VI, p. 


Now, what is the reason for the poverty of the 
Negro? Indeed, from the foregoing it must ap- 
pear that poverty is a more appropriate word to 
use in such connection than wealth. The answer 
is not far to seek. It is the natural result of the 
Negro character, disposition, and training. The 
following letter is suggestive : 

"... 'I have done my work practically the 
whole summer with the exception of a few weeks 
that I had a trifling no account Negro, and even 
then I had to do the best portion of it in order to 
get them to accomplish anything. When they 
would wash and iron, those days I did everything 
else and they helped a little with the ironing, for 
if I didn't they would never get through. They 
[Negroes] are absolutely worthless, and if I 
didn't have small children I wouldn't let one light 
within a mile of me. . . . " 1T 

A Negro who worked in the strawberry section 
of Delaware told the writer a few years ago that 
although he usually worked in the daytime he 
roved about every night. It happened that once, 
when he had been carousing as usual on the night 
before, that he was put to harrowing strawber- 

17 Quotation from a letter shown to the writer, which was 
written by a woman in Richmond. 


ries. About three o'clock in the afternoon the 
overseer came along and found that he was har- 
rowing up the strawberries from one end of the 
row to the other, he was so sleepy. The over- 
seer simply told him to put his horse in the stable 
and go to bed, which he did. As he got some 
sleep, when night came he was out again for a- 
great part of the night; and so on. 

As a laborer, the Negro is not so satisfactory 
asj formerly. The old-time Negro, trained in 
slavery to work, has about passed away and his 
successor is far less efficient and faithful to duty. 
Lately, large numbers of Negro laborers have 
shown a tendency to leave the farms for work on 
railroads, in sawmills, and in the cities, large num- 
bers migrating to the cities of the North. They 
like to work in crowds and this often results in 
making more work for the police. 

From the good wages Negro laborers have re- 
ceived for several years, many of the more far- 
sighted have saved enough to buy little homes. A 
few of the more ambitious may continue to save, 
but far the greater part are then perfectly satis- 
fied and settle down to a life of ease and content- 
ment. By raising a hog or two, a few chickens, 
some garden vegetables, and, with a day's work 
now and then, they pass their time in a way suited 
to their indifferent nature. 


A concrete example may be of interest. A pure 
Negro, about thirty-five years of age, a few years 
ago, purchased about half an acre of land on the 
bank of a "branch" near a small village in Mary- 
land. For a few dollars he bought an old dis- 
carded house about one hundred and fifty yards 
away, and with the aid of neighbors moved it on 
his lot. It is doubtful if both the lot, and the house 
(after being moved and repaired) cost him more 
than one hundred dollars. 

This Negro has been living in it for years and 
seems perfectly contented. His family consists of 
himself, wife and three daughters eleven to seven- 
teen years of age. The surrounding country is 
one of the best tomato growing sections in the 
United States and during about six weeks of the to- 
mato season tomato pickers are in great demand 
and make good wages. During this time the Ne- 
gro man and his family usually work hard; for 
they pick by the basket and make in the neighbor- 
hood of two hundred dollars. This is practically 
their year's work. The remainder of the year 
they do but little. They have a garden, pigs, and 
chickens. It would be an easy matter for this 
family to get ahead in the world ; but they prefer 
the easy life of comparative idleness, for this 
was their incentive to secure a home. 

This is also one of the main reasons, no doubt, 


for the great increase in Negro tenant farmers, 
especially that of share tenants. The latter class 
increased about thirty-six per cent between 1900 
and 1910. Many of these seldom work a full 
day at a time. As they usually put off cultivating 
a crop to the last moment, if a wet season hap- 
pens to set in, it is soon greatly damaged by a 
growth of grass. As a tenant farmer, the Ne- 
gro realizes that he is more independent, his time 
is his own, and that he can usually work when he 
pleases. A great part of his time is given to vari- 
ous Negro recreations, such as visiting, riding 
and driving, crap-shooting, preaching, attending 
revivals, and camp-meetings. 

So the cause of the Negro's failure to secure 
a reasonable share of wealth is not lack of oppor- 
tunity, for (at least, in the South) he has every 
opportunity that he could wish in order to do so, 
but rather to his racial traits or characteristics, 
some of which are : a happy-go-lucky disposition, 
indolence, shiftlessness, laziness, indifference, lack 
of mental stamina and ambition, and strong crim- 
inal tendencies. 



MANY solutions of the Negro problem have 
been proposed. Men so gifted with imagination 
that they do not find it necessary to consider either 
logic or facts, over and again, in a single speech 
or magazine article, have solved it to their indi- 
vidual satisfaction. Such proposed solutions are 
usually no less preposterous than visionary. With 
these I have nothing to do. As elsewhere in this 
study, so also here, I consider only what seems 
to have a firm basis of fact. 

However, in passing, I may be pardoned, if I 
have the temerity to suggest the following, which, 
although seemingly fanciful, yet may have suffi- 
cient ground in reason as to merit some considera- 
tion: If about 100,000 square miles of territory 
on the Gulf of Mexico, embracing, say, Louisiana 
east of the Mississippi River, excepting New Or- 
leans, the southern part of Mississippi and Ala- 
bama, the part of Florida south of Alabama, and 
a small part of southwest Georgia, were set apart 
as a State or States to which all the Negroes in 



other parts of the country be encouraged or 
obliged to migrate, it might result in great good to 
both races. 

Something like half the population of this sec- 
tion are Negroes, while the whites that are here 
are mostly in the towns and cities. The area sug- 
gested is more than that of New York and Penn- 
sylvania combined. There would be room for all 
Negroes in the country for generations to come. 
As the Negro states would be members of the 
Union, with representatives and senators in Con- 
gress, the Negroes would have an opportunity 
under the Federal Government to develop a po- 
litical and social world of their own removed from 
the overshadowing presence of the white man. If 
the Negro showed himself unable to develop the 
power of local self-government under such an ar- 
rangement, his case would be absolutely hopeless. 
However, there are so many difficulties in the way 
and so many objections that might be made that 
no one need either hope or fear that any such 
thing will ever be undertaken. 

But somewhat more in keeping with common 
sense and prevalent ideas is the proposal that Ne- 
groes be encouraged to distribute themselves 
equally over the country; thus relieving the South 
of its burden of Negro population. If such an 
equalization of the Negro population could be car- 


ried out, the Negro then being everywhere few in 
numbers to the whites, could the better be held 
to the white man's standard of conduct. Not only 
so, but the Negro would have an opportunity to 
absorb the white man's civilization more quickly, 
if ever. In addition, the race question would 
cease to be sectional, and laws mutually advantage- 
ous to both races could then be passed. 

Before going further, even at the risk of digress- 
ing, for it is a matter of justice to the Negro, 
it should be said in favor of the Negro that even 
though he is the most alien race among us, no 
question as to his patriotism is ever raised. He 
has fought in all our great wars and has shown 
himself patriotic to the core. 

A day or two after President Wilson had made 
his German War address before Congress, the 
writer happened by the Star bulletin board in 
Washington, and noticed a German talking to a 
big burly Negro against war with Germany. He 
pointed to the bulletin board and told him not to 
believe anything he saw there for it was all lies 
made in London. The Negro seemed to listen in 
a half-disgusted sort of way, but as he started off 
he was understood to say: 

"I wish I was with some colored soldiers in 
Europe. We would show the Germans how to 


The Negro has no kindred country to look 
to, so he is undivided in his allegiance. This can- 
not be said of all other races among us, not of 
the Japanese and Chinese who seek admission at 
our Pacific shores. Like the Negro they cannot 
be assimilated by our people. In numbers, how- 
ever, they would constitute a much more danger- 
ous element to our welfare and safety than the 
Negro. Japan is almost abreast of our civiliza- 
tion and the western nations are doing their best 
to train China to be an antagonist worthy of their 
steel, should she ever have cause to cross swords 
with them. Large numbers of Chinese and Jap- 
anese would not only add to our race problems but 
would increase our chances for friction with their 
home governments. In addition they might con- 
stitute a reverse army of the enemy in our midst 
in case of war. But no such danger need be feared 
from the presence of the Negro. 

I have just adverted to the fact that the yellow 
race and the black are not easily assimilated with 
the white race. It may be well that it is so. To 
the normal white man amalgamation with these 
races is almost unthinkable. Nevertheless, there 
are a few misguided individuals who surely have 
either a mental or a moral twist who persist in 
joining together that which nature has put asunder. 


A few years ago, a minister sent the following 
telegram to the Governor of California : l 

"I have just married a Japanese to an Ameri- 
can and have done more for God and Uncle Sam 
than the alien land bill will do in 1000 years." 

It is not the ungodly that cause the suffering in 
the world so much as the bigoted if well-intention- 
ed fools. Self-elected good people can usually be 
counted on to cause a lot of mischief. If those 
who set themselves up as leaders and ethical teach- 
ers would but first make sure that they were pos- 
sessed of at least a fair amount of common sense ! 

In a recent Methodist Conference at Roanoke, 
Virginia, the statement was made that the rec- 
ords of some churches in Massachusetts show that 
in the previous year "17 per cent of the marriages 
were those in which Negro men married white 
women or white men married Negro women." 2 
This is the more remarkable when account is taken 
of the very small Negro population of that State. 

It is even sometimes asserted that the Negro 
would bring to the white race some qualities which 
would tend toward the development of a more per- 
fect man. But such an idea has no basis in fact. 
The following quotation is to the point : 

1 Baltimore American, May 23, 1913. 
* Baltimore Sun, March 30, 1917. 


"We have ample experience to go upon in 
South America, in the West Indies, in the South- 
ern States themselves. The mulatto exists and has 
existed for generations, not in hundreds or thou- 
sands, but in millions; in what respect has he 
proved himself the superior of the pure Spaniard, 
or Portuguese, or Anglo-Saxon? Does South 
American history bear testimony to his political 
competence? Have his achievements in science, in 
literature, in music, been superior to the un-Afri- 
canized peoples? Or waiving the question of su- 
periority, has he ever in these domains, produced 
meritorious work in any fair proportion to his 
numbers? I do not say that it is impossible to 
make out a sort of case for him, by the ransacking 
of records and the employment of a very indefinite 
standard of values. But I do most emphatically 
say that no conspicuous or undeniable advantage 
has resulted from the blending of bloods, such as 
can or ought to counteract the instinctive repug- 
nance of the South." 3 

It is said that an investigation of 2200 Negro 
authors showed that nearly all of them come from 
the mixed stock. 4 How many of these would take 

* William Archer, in McClure's, July, 1909. 

* C. A. Ell wood, "Sociology and Modern Social Problems," p. 


first, second, or even third rank in the literary 
world? It is needless to answer. Indeed, Negroes 
and mulattoes have been toilers in the United 
States for generations but who ever heard of an 
important labor saving instrument invented by 
them? The same abilities or characteristics which 
would make a white man only locally important 
would make a Negro or a mulatto famous. There 
were thousands upon thousands of white men in- 
tellectually and otherwise superior to Booker T. 
Washington who gained but little recognition, but 
because he was a negro, or rather mulatto, Wash-, 
ington's abilities stood out in striking relief. Mu- 
lattoes ought to furnish the leaders of the Negro 
race for the best white blood runs in the veins of 
some of them. Although mulattoes may furnish 
the Negro leaders, there can be no doubt that they 
also furnish far beyond their share of the vicious 
and the criminal elements of the race as well. 

It may be pertinent in this connection, however, 
to observe that in the South the two races have 
been gradually drawing apart, amalgamation or 
miscegenation is becoming more and more repug- 
nant, the conditions which favored it do not ob- 
tain to anything like the extent as formerly, as a 
consequence the mixing between the whites and 
the blacks is rapidly lessening. Although the cen- 
sus shows an increase in the number of mulattoes 


from decade to decade, the increase is mainly due 
to the mixing of mulattoes with pure Negroes. 

Some students of the subject, who seemingly are 
more familiar with the conditions in the North and 
the border States than with those of the farther 
South, sometimes estimate from one-third to one- 
half of the Negroes in the United States to be mu- 
lattoes. This, I am confident, is a mistake. I 
was reared in a border State, have spent some time 
in the North as well as in several Southern States, 
and have been in many of the leading cities of the 
South. My observation leads me to believe that 
the Census, in this respect, is more nearly correct 
than any other source of information. 

The Agents of the Census, in 1910, were in- 
structed to "report as 'black' all persons who were 
evidently full blood Negroes and as 'mulattoes' 
all other persons having some proportion or per- 
ceptible trace of Negro blood." Accordingly in 
a population of 9,928,000 Negroes in the United 
States there were found to be 2,050,000 mulat- 
toes, 20.9 per cent, or a little more than one- 

By geographic divisions the percentage of mu- 
lattoes among the Negroes was as follows : New 
England, 33.4 per cent; Middle Atlantic States, 
19.6; East North Central, 33.2 ; West North Cen- 
tral, 28.7; South Atlantic, 20.8; East South Cen- 


tral, 19.1; West South Central, 20.1; Mountain, 
28.6; and Pacific States, 34.7. 

Of the Northern States, Michigan took first 
place, with 47 per cent of mulattoes among her 
Negroes. Maine was next, with 45.9; and Wis- 
consin third, with 39.4. Those with the smallest 
percentage were Wyoming, 13.1 per cent; New 
Jersey, 15.8; and Pennsylvania, 19.2. The South- 
ern States having the largest percentage were, Vir- 
ginia, 33.2 per cent; West Virginia, 32.5; and 
Missouri, 28.4 per, cent. A large number of 
States in the South had a small percentage of mu- 
lattoes among their Negroes: Maryland, 18.6 
per cent; Georgia, 17.3; Mississippi, 16.9; Ala- 
bama, 16.7; South Carolina, 16.1; Florida, 16.0; 
Delaware, 11.9; and the Eastern Shore of Mary- 
land which borders Delaware on two sides, had 
only 1 1. 1 per cent, or one mulatto to every nine 
Negroes; thus the Eastern Shore has the distinc- 
tion of having fewer mulattoes in proportion to 
its Negro population than any other section. It 
is therefore evident that in the North the propor- 
tion of mulattoes among the Negroes is from about 
one-fifth to almost one-half; while in the South the 
proportion ranges from above one-eighth to about 
one-third. In the States where the bulk of the 
Negro population is found it is only about one- 
sixth. With slight exceptions, it seems to be true 


that the fewer to the white population the more 
mulattoes there are in proportion to the number of 
the Negroes. 

Indeed, may it not be true that the much larger 
proportional number of mulattoes among the Ne- 
groes of the North in no small measure accounts 
for the greater proportional amount of crime 
among the Negroes of the North? So it would 
appear that the amalgamation or miscegenation of 
the whites and the Negroes is not a leveling up 
but rather a leveling down process; at best nothing 
otherwise than building up the Negro by lowering 
the white. So no greater nor more fearful calam- 
ity could befall the white race in America than 
that the Negro should lose his identity through 
being absorbed by this great division of the Anglo- 
Saxon race. 

Again, many optimistic white men have thought 
that the Negro could be raised to the white man's 
level by means of the training and culture that 
comes through the study of books. To these edu- 
cation for the Negro has been a watchword. To a 
large extent Southern whites have been in sym- 
pathy with the education of the Negro. Indeed, 
many years ago, contrary to what one not familiar 
with the South might suppose, a prominent man 
in North Carolina in seeking a congressional 
nomination on a platform hostile to Negro educa- 


tion failed even to carry his home county. And 
efforts to restrict the amount appropriated to Ne- 
gro schools to the part of the school taxes paid 
by Negroes have failed. 

Since 1870 the South has spent on Negro edu- 
cation around $230,000,000 and is now appro- 
priating for that purpose near $10,000,000, an- 
nually. It is doubtful if the Negro contributes in r^ 
taxes even half the amount spent on his public 
schools. In 1912, according to the Educational 
Report of that State, North Carolina spent $436,- 
480.08 for Negro teachers and Negro school 
buildings, of which the Negro contributed in taxes 
for schools $190,378.81, or a little more than 
two-fifths. Texas spends not far from $2,000,000 
a year on Negro schools, and Georgia about $850,- 
ooo. The District of Columbia, indeed, spends 
more per capita on Negro pupils than on whites. 
However, this is a notable exception. 

There are also more than six hundred private 
and denominational schools of secondary and col- 
lege grade in the United States for the higher edu- 
cation of the Negro. The property of these is 
valued at about $28,500,000^ From 1865 to 
1917 about $65,000,000 has been contributed to 
Negro education in the South through various re- 
ligious and philanthropic organizations. 

8 Negro Education (Government Report), Vol. I, p. 8. 


But notwithstanding the fact that the illiteracy 
of the Negro race had been reduced by 1910 to 
about thirty-three per cent, there is a widespread 
feeling of disappointment in Negro education. 
Not that it has made the Negro more criminal 
as has sometimes been said, however, this is not 
yet well determined, but rather that it has failed 
to make him a greater producer, or to aid him 
to adjust himself to economic conditions. Instead 
of firing him with the desire to do more and bet- 
ter work, too often he quits it altogether. 

As a teacher or a preacher the Negro has a 
wide field for his race needs him and the State 
and the Church pay him. But as a doctor, law- 
yer, or other professional, poverty and pauperism 
(the condition of the greater part of the Negro 
race) militate against them. In addition, the Ne- 
gro has not yet sufficient confidence in the profes- 
sional skill of those of his own race as to cause 
him to employ them exclusively. 

There is a growing conviction in the South that 
the first aim of Negro education should be to fit 
the Negro for the opportunities of his social and 
industrial environment. Also that it should en- 
deavor to strengthen his will power, in order that 
he may overcome his constitutional inertia; and 
that it should give him a knowledge of sanitary 
living, thus preventing disease. 


In the South Carolina Public School Report for 
1915, the State Superintendent of Schools has this 
to say: 

"The Negro is here and is here to stay. He 
cannot remain ignorant without injury to himself, 
his white neighbors and to the Commonwealth. 
His training should fit him for the work that is 
open to him. . . . While industrial education is 
needed for both races it is especially desirable for 
the Negro. 

"The money now expended for Negro educa- 
tion is largely wasted. Can we afford longer to 
allow this large element in our population to fol- 
low their present practices and remain in their 
present condition?" 

Such schools as Hampton Institute and Tuske- 
gee have fairly well demonstrated that industrial 
education is at least a good thing for the Negro. 
In these and other such schools thousands have 
been given an inspiration for a higher plane of 
living. Indeed, it is claimed that very seldom is 
any graduate of these two schools convicted of 
crime : 8 The influence of Tuskegee on the Negro 
in a material way may be appreciated by the state- 
ment that in 1881 when the school was opened in 

'"Education and Crime," South Atlantic Monthly, January, 


Macon County, Alabama, not more than fifty or 
sixty Negroes in the county owned land, but in 
1910, 503 Negroes in the county owned 61,689 
acres, "probably the largest amount of land owned 
by the Negroes of any county in the United 
States." 7 

If a few Negro industrial schools make such a 
good showing, then why not multiply the num- 
ber? Indeed, it is yet too early for either the Ne- 
gro or his friends to indulge in too much optimism 
in regard to the matter. For while it may be true 
in general that whatever is done in behalf of a 
lower element in a society benefits the whole so- 
ciety, at the same time, it needs to be borne in 
mind that to the extent that it is done to the cost 
or by the neglect of a more homogeneous and 
wholesome element in the society or if it in any 
way militates against such element it is a question- 
able proceeding. 

What if the industrial education of the Negro 
should be found to conflict with the interests of 
the white laborer or skilled worker? Does any 
one suppose that it is the purpose of the South so 
to educate the Negro (or even allow him to be so 
educated) as to enable him to take the bread from 
the white man's mouth? And does any one sup- 
pose that the laboring white man of the arrogant 

T Scott and Stowe, "Life of Booker T. Washington," p. 176. 


and aggressive Anglo-Saxon race will stand tamely 
by with folded arms while there is danger of its 
being done? 

This is the central point of the whole situation. 
But in the South the contest between these two con- 
flicting interests is not yet, as the demand for 
labor skilled or unskilled is too great. The Negro 
has had and can have all the work he wants and 
more for the asking; indeed, often his labor is 
anxiously solicited. How long this will continue 
no one knows, positively. However, when the 
population of the country reaches 150,000,000 or 
200,000,000 then labor will likely be as plentiful 
here as it is now in Europe. Then, the labor of 
the Negro will hardly be solicited, rather other- 
wise. The white man's sympathetic attitude to- 
ward the Negroes' many shortcomings is fast 
passing. When the Negro is required to measure 
up to the white man's standard and is found want- 
ing, what remains for him? 

Furthermore, the Negro might as well get fully 
in mind that, although the white man sometimes 
may win without merit (yet often fails to win 
even though deserving to do so), for the Negro 
himself, even though merit may not win, without 
it he will have absolutely no show. He must be 
not only as well adapted to an occupation, or quali- 
fied for it, as a white man but better. 


Until lately those especially interested in the 
welfare of the Negro might have entertained the 
hope that he would hold his place in his custom- 
ary occupations or even make them in great part 
his very own. This would have been a kind of 
segregation to occupation analogous to his segre- 
gation as regards residence and at least as advan- 
tageous to him. But in hardly more than one oc- 
cupation is such the case. As a porter he seems to 
have the field practically to himself, and as hod- 
carrier he is in demand. But as a barber he has 
fast been losing ground. The Negro as a waiter 
takes more pride in his occupation and is more po- 
lite and obliging than the white man of the waiter 
class but he is even being displaced in this work. 
Even as a farm laborer, for which service he has 
been trained for generations, he is losing his grip. 
"Too slow, unreliable, inefficient" are some of the 
counts against him. 

The idea that prevails outside the South that 
Negroes do practically all the work on Southern 
farms is far from the truth. More than half of 
the cotton crop is raised by white labor, in 
Texas, three-fourths or more. Even in sugar and 
rice fields white labor is getting common. 8 Often, 
indeed, a farmer will not employ a Negro if he 
can get a white man. 

"Year Book, Dept. of Agriculture, 1910, p. 193. 


Indeed, the Negro farm laborer and the Negro 
farmer are the greatest stumbling-blocks in the 
way of the agricultural development of the South. 
Were it possible to remove from the South at 
least three-fourths of these and replace them with 
whites whether native or foreign there can be no 
doubt that the production of Southern farms 
would be wonderfully increased. It is an injury 
to the South and to society as a whole that the 
Negro has under his control even as much land 
as at present. When his "slipshod" farming gives 
place to more scientific and businesslike methods 
there will be more farm products for distribu- 

The inefficiency of the Negro as a farmer is 
strikingly shown by a study of the conditions in 
several Mississippi counties: 

"Lowdnes County with three Negroes to one 
white man, having 21,972 blacks and 7121 whites, 
requires 3.15 acres to make a bale of cotton, while 
James County, with three whites to one negro, hav- 
ing 13,156 whites and 4,670 blacks, requires 1.98 
acres to make a bale. The farm lands of Jones 
county are valued in the census reports at $2.85 
per acre and the farm lands of Lowdnes County 
at $9.83 an acre. Yet the poor lands of Jones 
County under intelligent cultivation produced near- 

ly twice as much per acre as the rich lands of 
Lowdnes County when cultivated mostly by Ne- 
groes ... in every comparison made between a 
white county and a black one the black was the 
most fertile, yet the white was nearly twice as pro- 
ductive." 9 

Such a poor showing for the Negro almost per- 
suades one that he deserves to be supplanted by 
whites in farm work and in farming, even if he 
should not be. At present the South holds out un- 
equaled attractions in the way of climate, rich soil, 
and cheap lands, to those of other sections of the 
country who may be seeking farm homes. And 
there can be little doubt that with the passing of 
the free public lands the tide of immigration in 
the near future will set in that direction, in spite 
of the presence of the Negro. Then what will 
become of the Negro when he shall have to com- 
pete with the thrifty hard-working Poles, Bohe- 
mians, and native Americans from the North and 
the West? Will he be simply pushed aside and 
left to gravitate to a still lower level? Nothing 
will save him unless he soon wonderfully changes 
in habits and disposition. So the Negro may as 
well look forward to the time when he will be sup- 

*Quoted by A. H. Stone in "American Race Problem," pp. 177- 
8, from J. C. Hardy, "The South's Supremacy in Cotton Grow- 
ing," p. 9. 


planted in these occupations to which he thinks 
himself so well adapted and in which he thinks 
himself so well fortified, those of farm laborer 
and farmer. 

Finally, may not the unquestioned physical de- 
terioration of the Negro since his emancipation as 
shown by his susceptibility to disease together with 
his high death rate portend the ultimate practical 
extinction of the race in the United States? Dur- 
ing slavery times the Negro was fairly well fed 
and usually worked according to set regulations. 
Evidently such food and training had no little to 
do with developing a sound body, and disciplined 
his mind to some extent as well. 10 

According to De Bow, the mortality of the free 
Negroes before the War was a hundred per cent 
greater than that of the slaves. It even appears 
that the death of the Negroes in the South at that 
time was less than that of the whites. In Charles- 
ton, S. C., the average death-rate from 1822 to 
1 86 1 was 25.98 a thousand for whites and 24.05 

10 "There were imported in the British West Indies 4,000,000 
Negro slaves and when they were manumitted there were 800,- 
ooo. Into the Southern States 400,000 were imported and there 
were before the war 4,000,000 ; this decrease in the former 
and increase in the latter are strong facts. The climate influ- 
ence was on the side of the West Indies. There must have 
been a very different treatment." Charleston (S. C.) Mercury, 
Nov. 23, 1863. Quoted by it from a London paper, written by 
an Englishwoman who had spent a short time in the South. 


for Negroes. About the same was true of some 
other cities. From 1865 to 1894, however, the 
average death-rate at Charleston was 26.77 a 
thousand for whites and 43.29 for Negroes. 11 No 
doubt the slight increase of the death rate among 
the whites was due to the rapid increase among 
the Negroes as the whites necessarily came more 
or less in contact with the Negroes. 

Indeed, very significant in this connection, is 
the statement made in the "Negro Year Book" 
(1914-15) that an average of 450,000 Negroes in 
the South are seriously ill all the time, and that 
600,000 of the present population will die of tuber- 

The Census shows that both pneumonia and 
tuberculosis are diseases very fatal to Negroes. 
And strange as it may now seem, in slavery times 
Negroes were thought to be practically immune 
from tuberculosis. Indeed, it is said that, about 
1882-3, there was exhibited at a clinic in Charles- 
ton, S. C., what was supposed to have been the 
second case of tuberculosis ever found among 
Negroes. 12 This is very remarkable, if true. 

In each city of the following list of twelve is 
given the number of times more deaths that oc- 

11 R. W. Woolley, Pearson's Magazine, Feb., 1910, p. 210, quot- 
ing Drs. Scale, Harris and W. C. Woodward. 

"Report of Board of Prison Inspectors of Alabama, Sept., 
1910-1914, p. 45. 


curred from tuberculosis among Negroes in 1910, 
according to the Census, than among whites: 
Providence, 1.82; Richmond, 2.05; Boston, 2.46; 
Atlanta, 2.48; New York, 2.64; New Orleans, 
2.70; Memphis, 2.80; Philadelphia 3.00; Balti- 
more, 3.14; Washington, 3.34; Charleston, S. C., 
3.55. It may be noticed that more than three and 
one-half times as many Negroes as whites died of 
tuberculosis in Charleston. The comparative sta- 
tistics for pneumonia differ not very much from 
those of tuberculosis. 

However, the ratio of death-rate from com- 
bined causes is much lower than this. The aver- 
age death rate a thousand in eight Northern States 
in 1910 was 21.9 for Negroes and 15.1 for whites ; 
while the average for two Southern States was 
23.7 for Negroes and 15.2 for whites. In ten 
Northern cities it was 23.64 for Negroes and 
15.99 f r whites; for the same number of cities 
in the South it was 30.60 for Negroes and 17.22 
for whites. 13 Again, in thirty-three Northern 
cities the death rate among Negroes was 25.1 a 

"Northern States: Me., Mass., Mich., N. J., N. Y., O., Pa., 
and R. I.; Southern: Md. and N. C. These were the only 
Southern States mentioned in this connection in the census. 
Northern cities: New Haven, Boston, Detroit, Atlantic City, 
Trenton, Cleveland, Springfield, Philadelphia, Chicago, and 
Kansas City; Southern: Washington, Baltimore, Wilmington, 
N. C., Mobile, Atlanta, Savannah, New Orleans, Memphis, 
Charleston, S. C., and Richmond. 

thousand and 15.7 among whites, while in twenty- 
four Southern cities the death-rate was 29.6 for 
Negroes and 16.9 for whites. For the fifty-seven 
cities together, 27.8 for Negroes and 15.9 for 
whites. 14 Thus, it is seen that the death rate 
among Negroes is not far from twice as great as 
among whites, but contrary to the general impres- 
sion it is less in the North than in the South. 

Moreover, statistics show that the Negro is not 
increasing in this country as fast in proportion as 
is the white man. Indeed, he seems to be falling 
behind in his own percentage of increase. Be- 
tween 1890 and 1900 his increase was i,3453i& 
but from 1900 to 1910 it was only 993,769. 
Again, the percentage of Negroes in the popula- 
tion of the country decreased from 19.03 per cent 
in 1810 to 10.69 per cent in 1910, and from 14.13 
per cent in 1860 to 10.69 P er cent * n I 9 I - ^ n 
other words, while the whites increased nearly 
three and one-half (3.4) times between 1860 and 
1910, the Negro increased only two and two- 
tenths (2.2) times. 

That this difference between the increase of 
the two races was not due to the immigration of 
whites is shown by the fact that from 1800 to 1840 
when there was scarcely any immigration of whites 
the population of the country increased more than 

" Department of Commerce Bulletin 129, p. 44. 


three and a fifth (3.21) times, while from 1870 to 
1910, an equal number of years, when immigra- 
tion was almost at its height, the increase was only 
a little more than two and a third (2.38) times. 
Again, during the fifty years, 1790 to 1840, it 
increased four and a third (4.34) times; also, be- 
tween 1810 and 1860 it increased in the same ratio 
(4.34) ; while for the fifty years from 1860 to 
1910 it increased only something more than two 
and three-fourths (2.86) times. 

Indeed, it is said that "the Southern States, 
which have received practically no immigrants 
since the Civil War, have increased their popula- 
tion as rapidly as the Northern States; that is, the 
increase of population among the Southern whites 
has been equal to the Northern increase assisted 
by immigration." 15 

While these facts may not be sufficient evidence 
that the Negro will finally become extinct in this 
country, nevertheless, it is impossible for one to 
escape the conclusion that as the years go by the 
members of his race will become fewer and fewer 
in proportion to the whole population. As this 
comes about the Negro will gradually cease to be 
such a problem, as at present. 

11 C. A. Ellwood: "Sociology and Modern Social Problems," 
p. 212. 

Collins, Winfield Hazlitt 
185 The truth about lynching